Iron bladed adze

Iron bladed adze
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
?Sudan , ?Uganda
[Southern Sudan?] [?White Nile]
Date Made:
Before 1874
Iron Metal , Plant Root , Wood Plant , Plant Fibre , Animal Hide Skin
Carved , Perforated , Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Twisted , Bound Stained
Handle L = 270, head diam = 61 x 37, butt diam = 25.3 x 23.6; blade L = 207, W = 40.2, th = 5.7 mm [RTS 30/6/2005].
385.5 g
Other Owners:
Pitt Rivers sent this object to Bethnal Green Museum for display, as part of the first batch of objects sent there, probably in 1874.
PRM Source:
Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers founding collection
Donated 1884
Collected Date:
Prior to 1874
Adze consisting of an iron adze head with broad curved cutting edge, bevelled on both sides, and rectangular sectioned blade that tapers to its butt. It is currently a dark metallic gray colour (Pantone 440C). This has been hafted at right angles through the top of a short wooden handle. The narrow end of the blade projects slightly on the other side of the handle, and has been bound round with a length of hide, and then some twisted plant fibre string on top, to create a stop that would prevent the blade slipping through the hole. The handle has a knobbed head, created from a naturally formed root; this has been shaved below the blade to create a cylindrical handle with slightly rounded butt end. The surface of the handle has been stained and polished, and is currently a reddish brown colour (Pantone 731C). The object is nearly complete, but some of the surface around the head has been lost. It has a weight of 385.5 grams. The handle is 270 mm long, with a head diameter of 61 by 37 mm and butt diameter of 25.3 by 23.6 mm, while the blade is 207 mm long, 40.2 mm wide and 5.7 mm thick.

This object was sent to the Bethnal Green Museum for display, probably in 1874, and was later displayed in the South Kensington Museum before becoming part of the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1884. It was given a very general provenance of 'The White Nile', which was probably used in a loose sense to refer to the Bahr el Abiad and Bahr el Jebel Rivers, and the areas immediately around them.

Rachael Sparks 8/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book IV entry [p. 85] - [insert] 1884.33 [end insert] TOOLS [insert] 19 [end insert] 808 blue - Adze with iron blade, hafted through a knob (root): blade triangular. ?WHITE NILE. AFRICA.
Blue book entry [p. 36] - Objects from savage tribes illustrating hafting stone and other implements [p. 38] 808. Iron adze, Africa [insert] 1884.33.19 [end insert].
Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 30/1/2004].
Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, ?White Nile, Adze with iron blade. Pitt Rivers founding collection. 1884.33.19 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 30/6/2005].
Written on object - ?WHITE NILE, C. AFRICA. P.R. coll (808) [RTS 30/6/2005].

Display History:
Displayed in Bethnal Green and South Kensington Museums (V&A)[AP]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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