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Tangsa man
Tangsa woman

The Tangsa tribe, also known as the Tase, lives in the Tirap and Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. A Naga tribe, they are well-built and of medium-stature.

The Tangsas in Patkai Region are of Mongoloid origin. They migrated from South-West China Province of Yunan through Burma and setteled in this region in the beginning of 13th century. In their native place in China and Burma they were known as ‘Muwa’ and ‘Hawa’ respectively. The term Tangsa is derived from ‘Tang’ (high land) and ‘Cha’ or ‘Sa’ (son) meaning sons of high land.

They are divided into thirteen sub-tribes, namely:

  • Longchang
  • Jugli
  • Mossang
  • Ronrang
  • Kimsing
  • Muklom
  • Tikhak
  • Ponthai
  • Longphi
  • Sna-ke
  • Longri
  • Taipis
  • Ha-ve



The Tangsa's habitation along the Burmese border resulted in cultural influence from neighbouring tribes across the border and the adoption of the Burmese dress among many tribal members.[1]

Traditionally, the Tangsa kept long hair in both sexes, which is tied into a bun and covered with a piece of cloth, known as the Khu-phak. The menfolk wear a green lungi, which is lined with yellow, red and white yarns, and accompanied with a sleeveless shirt. On the other hand, the costume of the womenfolk include an artistically woven petticoat, which acts as the lower garment, and a linen blouse.


Practicing shifting cultivation (known as Jhum) and using simple manual tools, the Tangsa raise crops that include paddy, millet, maize and arum, and vegetables. Traditional meals include rice beer (called U) and pork bamboo shoot.[2]

Owing to the climate, the Tangsa live in silt houses, which are divided into many rooms. Like the Nocte, the Tangsa have separate dormitories for men, known as Looppong, and Likpya for the female.

As a united tribe, the Tangsa believed in a joint family system, and property is equally divided between all family members. A tribal council, known as Khaphua, is administered by a Lungwang chief, who sees to the daily affairs of the Tangsa tribe.


Followers of the Donyi-Polo religion, the Tangsa believed in a supreme being that crated their existence, locally known as Rangfrah, although belief in other deities and spirits is maintained as well. The funeral festival of the Tangsa, Mol, asks for a bumper crop as food, in particular pig, is offered to the dead. A feast between villagers is held by the bereaved family. After dusk, man and women start dancing together rhythmically with the accompanying drums and gongs.

The Tangsa have traditionally came under the influence of Theravada Buddhism,[3] which resulted in the imbibing of certain religious rituals and even recently, converts.[4] Of late, a small minority of converted Baptist Christians do exist as well.[5]


  1. ^ Satya Dev Jha (1986). Arunachal Pradesh, Rich Land and Poor People. Western Book Depot. p. 94.  
  2. ^ "A trip to hidden paradise - Arunachal festival promises a journey to the unknown". The Telegraph. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  3. ^ J. D. Baveja (1982). New Horizons of North East. Western Book Depot. p. 68.  
  4. ^ Shibani Roy, S. H. M. Rizvi (1990). Tribal Customary Laws of North-east India. B.R. Pub. Corp.. p. 34. ISBN 8170185866.  
  5. ^ Bijan Mohanta (1984). Administrative Development of Arunachal Pradesh, 1875-1975. Uppal. p. 16.  

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