Konyaks: The Headhunters of Nagaland - TheUnexplored Blog

September 7th, 2022

Konyaks: The Headhunters of Nagaland

A headhunter of Nagaland with traditional jewellery

The Konyaks have a longstanding reputation for being ferocious headhunters in the isolated hills of northern Nagaland. It was a significant life achievement that was commemorated with a lavish celebration for the brave warrior who brought home the enemy’s head. They were warriors who thought that having a strong offense was the best way to defeat rival tribes in combat.

Even when they don’t have spears or machetes in their hands, Naga warriors have a threatening appearance. They frequently sport jewelry, like necklaces and nose ornaments made of animal tusks, teeth, and claws. Their inked torsos and faces exhibit evidence of their participation in headhunting and deadly fighting. As a mark of their valiant acts, it was customary to honor them with tattoos on their faces and chests.

A headhunter of Konyak tribe in Nagaland with body tatoo
credit : wikimedia commons

Their ferocious headhunting history was a component of their long history as ruthless warriors. Konyaks were, thus, feared — they beheaded their foes and brought back the severed heads as trophies. Territorial issues between opposing tribes and villages were addressed through combat. The warriors’ walls and doors were then proudly adorned with heads.

The practice of headhunting was outlawed by the Indian government in 1960. Therefore, since the early 1960s, Naga stopped headhunting.

At present these headhunters who were once considered warriors among their clans, who are frequently elderly, can be identified by their big ear piercings made of animal horns and their battle caps made of a wild bear or goat hair, hornbill feathers, and hunted wild pig horns. The knives they used to kill people are still with them.

Nonetheless, the Konyak festivals are frequently a throwback to their headhunting days, where war dances with guns and knives feature prominently and some of the enemy skulls buried deep in the trees are exhumed to be displayed – they no longer resolve their disagreements with these weapons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Woahhh! Hello there! Stop! You don't wanna do this.