The Stone of Heaven: Unearthing the Secret History of Imperial Green Jade by Adrian Levy and

“Outsiders were shunned by the Kachin, who drew their strength from the jungle that they believed was inhabited by nats. These omniscient ‘messengers of the soil’ hid among the thickets, watched from the skies, possessed wild animals and entered the tribesemen’s homes. They were said to be the spirits of those who had died violently and could assume monstrous shapes, bringing disease and destruction on all those who failed to honour them. The jungles would have certainly reverberated with the sound of wild incantations as the Kachins invoked the Great Spirit, the Evil One, the Glorious One. And when a traveller heard the hell-raising screams, he knew that the Kachin were about to go into battle, leaping on their quarry from the tree-tops, lopping off the ears of their victims, which were collected as trophies.”

Posted December 21, 2002

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