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Thursday, February 22, 2018
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The People


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Naga Tribes

Physical Features | Dress & Ornaments | Profession | Houses | Food | Games | Customs


 
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 ancestors.

Physical Features 

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. 

Dress and Ornaments

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. 


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