The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Eight. The Harvest
caption: metal taboo in killing pigs for sacrifice
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The use of any metal instrument for slaughtering pigs is strictly taboo. The bamboo spike is an ancient instrument that survives for ritual use, although iron is used for all other purposes. The custom of slaughtering pigs during the harvest festival undoubtedly dates from a time when the Nagas made all their instruments of bamboo and stone. Mithan, buffalo, and cattle may be killed with any weapon -- spear or dao, for they are comparatively recent additions to Konyak culture, and therefore are not subject to the old ritual. Some Konyaks are even afraid to eat the meat of mithan or cattle, and Shankok, though feeling he owed it to his prestige to present a mithan to his relatives and friends, refrained from eating the meat himself.