The Nagas occupy the northern,
north-eastern, and north-western
hills of Manipur. The different groups of Nagas are Thangkhuls, Mao, Muram Nagas,
Tadubi, Kolya, Khoiras or Mayang Khong, Kabuis, Koirengs, Chirus and Marings. There are several stories about the origin of different
groups of Nagas. It is believed that Nagas and Meiteis have common
Nagas are of Mongoloid stock.
The skin colour varies according
to the habitat. The Tangkhuls, Mao-Muran Nagas are generally fairer as compared
to the Kabus. The men are muscular and sturdy and full of stamina. The nose is
flattened at the nostrils but most of Tangkhuls show some marked sharpness
in their Mongoloid features. Height-wise all Naga groups are medium
sized. Marings are tall and well built. The women are short but
stout. Their eyes are deep set with bulged eye sockets. The nose is
slightly flattened at the nostrils and its length is also comparatively
short. The lips are thick but some Thangkhul women like their men folk
having sharpness in their nose and other features. Women are generally
fair in Complexion especially Tangkhul women.
The dress is of simple form.
In the case of men it is a
piece of cloth wrapped round the waist, its ends are allowed to hang down.
The cloth is made of cotton or synthetic fibre. Horizontal stripes are
given to the piece of cloth in red or white linings. A piece of
cloth is also kept around the shoulders to cover the upper portion
of the body. Their ceremonial dress is more elaborate and colourful.
Leggings with bands of colours are used around the calves. The waist
cloth is also colourful with matching stripes. Two pieces of
scarf with a colourful linings of horizontal bands are thrown round
the shoulders to hang down on the back and on the chest in such a way that the
loose ends of the scarves cross each other on either side. The woman wear a
piece of cloth wrapped around the waist. It may reach up to the
knee or up to mid-calves. They wrap up to the cloth round the waist
without the use of belt. The pattern of this cloth is artistic and
explains the rhythm of the lines and bands of colours arranged
in horizontal flow with different sectors of breadth; some bands geometerized
in to small blocks. The breasts are covered with choli type garment
or by wrapping a simple piece of cloth. Some women also wrap their bodies
with a long piece of cloth which covers the body from the bust down to the
thighs. It is simply rolled round the body below the armpits, making its edges
over the bosoms and tucked generally on the right side of the breast.
Some old men keep their hair long and arranged in
tangled knots, but in the present day the fashion is to wear hair up to the ears
only. Women grow hair but some prefer bob cuts. The bobbed hair makes the young Naga
girl look more beautiful with her ruddy face.
Both men and women are very fond
of ornaments. They wear a wide range of ornaments. The ear lobes are pierced to
make holes at some early stage. Men also wear armlets of brass or other metals.
Coiled wire rings and spiral rings of big size are used. The ear-rings are also very
big in size. Men wear typical and strong metal ornaments for self defence. Cane or brass rings are also worn below the knees to
provide strength in in climbing hills. Men wear
necklaces with red stone and any kind of glass or precious stones, beads, metals
and cowries. Women wear necklace of polished hexagonal cornelian beads.
They wear small ear-rings. Brass and metal armlets are common
ornaments of woman. Some wear collarette of blue beads. Wealthy woman
wear ivory armlets gals bead necklaces are also preferred. Necklace made
of red pebbles is worn only by wealthy gentry. Many woman adorn their upper
calves with cane rings and upper arm with a brass ornament made of a thick
wire finished into a bell-shaped mouth at both the extremities. The
ornaments is worn round tightly crossing the hinder portion of the
bell over each other. Tattooing is customary only in remote areas in
the North and the East.