The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Eleven. Sacred Chiefs
caption: Haimendorf joined for night by two head-hunters; head-taker's tattoo
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting Joboka
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Since I had neither any desire nor authority to interfere in this affair, but only displayed a great interest in their newly acquired neck tattoo and other head-hunting insignia, they left me greatly satisfied. Since it was too late at night to call on one of their friends in the village, they asked whether they could spend the night in (99) my camp and I told them that if they liked, they could sleep in the small shelter standing beside my hut. I must admit that the inadvisability of establishing two such recent head-hunters in my camp outside the village never occurred to me. But they justified my unconcern and proved camp-companions with excellent manners. Next morning, as we sat all together before my hut, chewing betel, one of them suddenly jumped up and with desperate gestures seemed to ask me something. At first I could not understand; but later I discovered he only wanted to know where he might spit out his betel!