The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Fifteen. Yimpang's Black Day
caption: skulls of enemies and their decorations
medium: books
person: Chingmak/ of Chingmei
ethnicgroup: Kalyo Kengyu
location: Yimpang
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: The heads were garlanded in true Kalyo Kengyu fashion with tresses of long grass, and decorated with huge wooden horns, and in some cases with wooden models of hornbill feathers; bamboo spikes had been stuck in the eye-sockets, for so the Nagas think to blind their victims even in death, and prevent their souls seeking out and avenging their murderers. Wind and sun had shrivelled the skin and distorted the features, and where teeth still remained they gave the gaping mouths a gruesome expression. Some of the skulls were scalped; these belonged to men, Chingmak explained, for the long hair of the southern Konyaks is much prized by Kalyo Kengyus as decoration for dance hats, ear ornaments, and other insignia of war, but the women with their closely clipped hair are more fortunate in death and their heads retain the valueless scalps.