The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-one. Head-Hunting Rites
caption: setting off towards Wakching
medium: books
person: Shankok
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Immediately after breakfast we start. We are a long procession, for besides the Tamlu porters carrying my luggage, there are all the boys from Wakching and Wanching.
text: No sooner have we left the village behind than the boys scramble into the nearby palm trees, cutting the young yellow and still unfurled leaves. They fringe them and fasten them to their carrying-baskets in long bundles that wave and flutter as they move, like great gigantic tails, sweeping the ground behind the very small boys. It is a decoration that can be worn only after a successful head-hunt, Shankok explains, and the high, shrill shouts of the boys as they run down the path to the Dikhu river also belong to the ritual of the bringing in of a head.