The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Four. Above the Clouds
caption: variations in hair-style from village to village; short skirts
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Shiong
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Yes, Shiong is very different from Wakching. The men tattoo their faces and wear the same coiffure that we had so much admired on the Sheangha men. Long, luxuriant hair is their pride, but the Wakching men, far from envying long hair, cut their own short, and are not impressed with their neighbour's hairdress. Nor are they impressed with the dress of their neighbour's womenfolk. Quite on the contrary, the fashion of the fair sex of Shiong is a source of continual hilarity to the men of Wakching. For the skirt of a Shiong belle is little more than a hand's width, while a respectable Wakching woman wears this only piece of clothing at least two or three hands wide. Can you wonder that the Wakching boys make fun of the "naked" girls of Shiong? But their scorn is due not to moral indignation but to the feeling that these girls, through their nakedness, are deprived of all erotic attraction. To run about in a skirt that excites no curiosity, so "that no man wants to look at them" -- isn't that a shame?