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: old men divining with sticks to decide where cultivation should be
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
location: Tang
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: A gaonbura, wearing a red cloth, and the teacher of the new village school came to meet us, and the latter offered to let us stay in his house, which stood near the rear end of the chief's house. At the time of our arrival one of the seasonal rituals was taking place in the great hall of that house. There a number of old men were busy preparing pairs of bamboo sticks. In front of the door a small fire was lit, and the old men held the specially prepared bamboos over the fire. Each pair of bamboos represented a piece of cultivable land, and the way in which the bamboos split in the heat of the fire indicated whether it was suitable for cultivation. If the split was thought to be unsatisfactory, the plot of land would be left to lie fallow that year. The old men holding these bamboos over the fire represented sections of the village; each man being the member of a separate clan.