The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-seven. Return to Nagaland
caption: enormous relief carving on front of house; erotic carvings
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
location: Sangnyu (Shangnyu)
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: The most outstanding feature of this large building was an enormous carving cut out of a panel which formed the division between living quarters and open hall. The people of Shangnyu believe this carving to be as old as the village, and it is certainly the biggest carving I have seen in any Naga house, and the tree from which the panel was cut must have been gigantic. The carving consists of several groups of figures all cut out of the solid wood in high relief. Most prominent were two male figures in full ceremonial dress each with an oversized penis sticking out horizontally. Above and beside these were figures of monkeys and snakes, and of a copulating couple. The fertility symbolism of the carving was unmistakable, but the circumstances of its creation were no longer remembered.