THE KHAMTIS AS A WARRIOR



THE KHAMTIS AS A WARRIOR
J. BUTLER: A Sketch of Assam, 1847, pp. 57 f.

In stature the Khamtees are middle-size, in countenance resembling the Chinese more then any other tribe on the frontier, and possessing the same kind of complextion; perhaps a shad darker. They are an active, intelligent, shrewd, warlike-looking race of men, but there is a sinister expression, mixed with a peculiar severity, pervading their countenances, that leaves anything but a favourable impression of the benevolence of their dispositions. Vindictive and cruel natures would infallibly be imputed to them by the physiognomist, and experience has shown that this would prove a just estimate of their general character. The Chiefs of this tribe are fond of mechanical employments, and with rude instruments most ingeniously work up iron and silver into a variety of arms, ornaments, and pipes. With a little European instruction they would probably become skilful workmen in this art. Their wearing apparel consists of a simple dhoti or sheet folded round the waist and falling below the knee; this, with a dyed blue cotton jacket extending below the waist and well fitted to the body, gives them a smart, tidy appearance. Their long hair is bound up in a high knot on the crown of the head, and sometimes a white cotton cloth is used as a turban. The principal food of the Khamtees consists of rice and vegetables; but meat, when procurable, is never refused. They also enjoy spirituous liquors; and their creed, Booddism, seems to have imbued them with few prejudices debarring them from the unrestrained indulgence of their natural inclinations.