Cementry at Semkhor

Scope and Content

B&W photographic print. 'Structures in the cemetery: The burial customs of Semkhor also show similarities with those of the Konyaks. Mills' description is quoted at length; without it interpretation of the images would be impossible. ' The cemetery is close to two old pipal trees, just outside the village. The body, together with clothes and ornaments, is burnt at the cemetery. The ashes are then collected and a little square of mat ting placed over them and pinned down, and on the mat are placed imitation deo moni beads made of little cylinders of plantain leaf. A long, narrow roof is built high up over this, and a cloth spread over the roof. The whole is fenced round. One naturally expects to see a corpse platform under such a roof, for the whole thing is reminiscent of platform burial. There is such a platform, but only a very small one, at one end. On this is placed a most curious imitation head, with a piece of cloth suspended over it to represent the roof of the head-house. The head is like a bamboo basket-work egg cut in half. Every piece of bamboo in it is wound round with red thread. A series of coarse threads obviously represents hair, the top-knot (or bun, in the case of a woman) being a tuft of black thread. One side is left open to represent the face. On each side is a little section of pith to represent an ear ornament, and a thick loop of cotton serves for beads round the neck. Over the back of the "head" is thrown a scrap of old cloth. The graves of both men and women are decorated with bird scarers (flat slats of wood), which may be very degenerate bull roarers, and with the squares of thread one sees on the graves of Angami women. Since these squares are put on the graves of both sexes, I take it they have nothing to do with the use of thread by women, but represent cobwebs to catch evil spirits. Near each grave is a separate platform on wooden poles on which are placed offerings of taro and cooking pots'. The inhabitants of Semkhor are very different from the Zemi Nagas'

Access Information



Ethnic group: Bodo Kachari

Ethnic group: Dimasa Kachari

Ethnic group: Kachari

The Dimasa Kachari are alternately known as the Semkhor and the Dwimasa

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

9.5 x 7 cm

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by J.P. Mills