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: Mauwang as blacksmith and wood-carver ; carving of wood
medium: books
person: Mauwang/ of Longkhai
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The only things he was really serious over were his works of art, and in these he took an almost childish pride. Yes, Mauwang was an artist; there was no one to equal him in the blacksmith's art in the whole district, and only his deaf-and-dumb half-brother carved more beautifully in wood. To understand his creative genius you would have to see him before a rough block of wood with his chisel in his hand. He would look at the wood lovingly for a little, and then suddenly the strong blows of the hammer would make the chips fly. Unhesitatingly the chisel sank into the wood. Faster and faster fell the blows of the hammer; and soon a human body seemed to grow out of wood. Perhaps it would be an arm that came first, then a head. Quicker and quicker he worked, without even a pause, and now you could see that the figure was not to remain alone. Already there was an arm of a second figure lying round the shoulder of the first. Gradually, as Mauwang hammered on, a pair of lovers took shape, with entwined arms. The extraordinary thing was that once he had begun his work he never paused to think how it was the arm should lie, or what position the feet might take. The sculpture must have stood before his spiritual eyes before the first stroke of the chisel. Only when the figures had been worked out in rough, Mauwang would begin the finer retouching with a small knife.