INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN
FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS
2008 – 2016
SHERDUKPEN DANCERS IN ASSAM
during meeting with J.P. Mills
These two figures represent queens in a Sherdukpen version of Aji Lhamu, a romance widely known in the
Tibetan Buddhist world, including the neighbouring Monpas. These dancers are performing for J. P. Mills, Adviser to
the Governor of Assam for Tribal Areas. Mills came to meet the Sherdukpen Sat Rajas (‘Seven… Kings’) at their winter
camp on the Belsiri River, east of Charduar, where they presented him with an honorary scarf. Each year Sherdukpens
(and other Arunachal tribes) came to Charduar, in Assam, to receive annual payments from the government. Charduar was
the headquarters of the Balipara Frontier Tract, which included most of the eastern districts of present-day Arunachal
Pradesh, where Sherdukpens (Akas, Mijis, Monpas and Buguns) live. Charduar (‘Four-Door/Gate’) was one of several duars
along the base of the eastern Himalayas where hill tribes came to transact business with the rulers of the plains.
Many tribes received an annual payment (posa) in goods and/or cash in return for not raiding villages in the plains.
For some tribes, these payments continued for several years even after 1947.
Catalogue reference: PPMS_19_6_SHERD_0026
Date/period of original: 16 February 1944
Ethnic group: Sherdukpen
Location: Belsiri River, Assam, Balipara District, India
Copyright: SOAS, Nicholas Haimendorf
SOAS Library PPMS_19_6_SHERD 0026