Nyubu Priests



The Adi tribal peoples of Arunachal Pradesh still maintain animist beliefs. In this mountainous land of wild animals and dramatic weather, the prevailing respect for nature is understandable. When a problem arises, Nishi tribals often consult Nyubu, priests who act as intermediaries between the human world and that of the spirits. It is believed that misfortunes and disasters are not natural occurrences. Rather, they are attributed to malevolent spirits. In ceremonial dress, adorned with animal parts believed to empower the priests with the qualities of the animals, the Nyubu wave eagle feather fans and invoke Doni-Polo, the sun and the moon. Their dress includes the tribe’s distinctive intricately woven helmets adorned with the beak and feathers of a hornbill. Daos, tribal spears, hang in bearskin sheaths slung over their shoulders on straps ornamented by cowrie shells and a tiger’s upper jaw.

Dibrugarh District, Assam


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