The Konyak Nagas: Tradition on the Edge
THE KONYAK NAGAS: TRADITION ON THE EDGE
A Photo Exhibition by TENZING PALJOR
3:30 pm, Friday 9 June 2012
UP Baguio Library Multifunction Hall
The Konyak Nagas are one of the fiercest warrior tribes in the North-East India. They are proud, independent and gained notoriety as headhunters, a way of life that was prevalent until the 1940s. The Konyak land is spread over the northern Naga Hills on the Indian frontier bordering Burma where clusters of remote hilltop villages are still ruled by Aungs, hereditary chieftains that hold a king-like status. The Konyaks are the only tribes in the Naga Hills where this unique institution of Aungship is still prevalent today.
The social status of men is identified by tattoos over their faces, chests and arms. The tattoos present a visual narrative attributing the life of a headhunter. The artistry of the Konyak continues beyond the tattoos and can be found in the abstract symbolism and vivid colors surrounding them in their daily life.
The Konyaks isolation from the rest of the world until recently has kept their cultural tradition and identity virtually intact. However, regional unrest, economic pressure and proselytism by Christian missionaries have resulted in the new generation adapting a more globalized culture.
The cultural and oral traditions of Konyak Nagas that have survived for centuries are today passing through grave challenges. The older generation, who still hold on to their heritage and way of life, after passing away, will take with them centuries-old indigenous wisdom. This exhibit portrays the faces of the last of the keepers of the Konyak spirit.
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