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: a difficult legal case concerning head hunting
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Tanhai Chen Sheangha
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The case Mills had to try was a difficult one. A woman of Chen, a village lying in unadministered country, had lost her head. So far it was simple and the men of Sheangha, a colony of the great Sheangha, admitted the capture of the head. They said that they wished to send it as a present to the Ang of Mon, for the Ang of Mon had recently had much misfortune. He had lost his house and the whole of his collection of more than a hundred heads by fire. But the hostile village of Tang lay on the path between Sheangha and Mon. Sheangha gave this reason for employing two youths of Hungphoi to convey their gift. Hungphoi was friendly with Mon and it was friendly with Tang; and besides, Hungphoi lay in administered country, which more or less guaranteed a safe conduct to the youths in the neighbouring independent villages. According to the boys' story, they had done nothing but carry the head from Sheangha to Mon, this undertaking alone entitling them to the face-tattoo in whose new splendour they obviously gloried.