Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
?Dinka ?Bongo ?Mundo ?Nuer ?Shilluk
Date Made:
?Before 1858
Iron Metal
Hammered , Polished
Max L = 139 mm Max W = 156 mm Max W [bar] = 11.3 mm Max Th [bar] = 11.8 mm
234.6 g
Other Owners:
Collected by John Petherick in 1858 and shipped back to England in 1859. Subsequently acquired by Pitt Rivers, perhaps via auction, as Petherick is known to have sold some of his collection through Mr Bullock of High Holborn, London, on 27th June 1862 (se
Field Collector:
John Petherick
PRM Source:
Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers founding collection
Donated 1884
Collected Date:
Heavy penannular torque made from a thick bar of iron with an angular, lozenge-shaped section, bent into an oval loop with tapering, flat cut ends, 64 mm apart. Hammer marks are visible on some surfaces, which have been polished and are currently a metallic gray colour (Pantone 421C). The object is complete and intact, with some traces of rust, and measures 156 mm across the outside width, 134.2 mm across the inside width, and has a length of 139 mm, while the bar from which this has been made has a width of 11.3 mm and a thickness of 11.8 mm. The torque weighs 234.6 grams.

This object is said to have been collected in 1858; in that year Petherick led a trading expedition through Bongo territory, an account of which is given in his 1861 volume, Egypt, The Sudan and Central Africa; he refers to this group as the Dor. The expedition entered Bongo territory on January 25, 1858, visiting villages called Djau, Kurkur, Maeha, Mura, Umbura, Modocunga, Miha, Nearhe, Gutu, Mungela, Ombelambe and Lungo. Later in February they passed back through the Bongo villages of Djamaga and Lungo again. The expedition also passed through Shilluk, Nuer, Raik Dinka, Mundo and Zande territory on this trip. Petherick's collection was shipped back to England in 1859. It was subsequently acquired by Pitt Rivers, perhaps via auction, as Petherick is known to have sold some of his collection through Mr Bullock of High Holborn, London, on 27th June 1862 (see the Catalogue of the very interesting collection of arms and implements of war, husbandry, and the chase, and articles of costume and domestic use, procured during several expeditions up the White Nile, Bahr-il-Gazal, and among the various tribes of the country, to the cannibal Neam Nam territory on the Equator, by John Petherick, Esq., H.M. Consul, Khartoum, Soudan ). This auction included a number of Nilotic neck ornaments. Pitt Rivers sent this object to Bethnal Green Museum for display, as part of the first batch of objects sent there, probably in 1874. This object was later displayed in the South Kensington Museum, and transferred from there to become part of the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1884.

Although Petherick discusses the personal adornment of most of the groups he encountered, the only groups which he specifically describes as wearing metal necklaces are the Zande, whose ornaments 'consist of iron rings worn around the neck, wrists and ankles' and the Bari, whose chief is described as wearing a twisted iron necklace (Petherick 1869, p. 280 and p. 307). It is not yet clear how widespread this practice was.

Rachael Sparks 30/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book IV entry [p. 171] - [insert] 1884.78 [end insert] PERSONAL ORNAMENTS. TORQUES RINGS, BRACELETS [insert] 28-30 [end insert] - [1 of] 3 massive iron penannular torques. E.C. AFRICA. Petherick coll. 1858 (104).
Collectors Miscellaneous XI Accession Book entry [p. 193] - PETHERICK, Consul [...] [insert] 1884.78.28-30 [end insert] 3 massive iron penannular torques, E[ast] Cent[ral] Africa. 1858 (P.R. 104).
Black book entry [p. 67] - 1620. Iron neck collars and bracelets (8) Dor, Mundo, Dinka, Nouer and Schillook tribes, Africa. p. 110. [insert] 1884.78.28-32 & coupl[e] new entries.
Added Black book entry [p. 67a] - Iron and bronze penannular knob ended bracelets, Indian in form are found in Africa having been made and introduced for trade purposes by Birmingham firms.
Delivery Catalogue II entry [p. 300] - Personal Ornaments of various Nations [p. 305] [insert] 1884.78.28-32 + new entry [end insert] 8 iron neck collars and bracelets d[itt]o [Dor tribe, Central Africa] 1620. Case 74, 345.
Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Iron torque. E. CENT. AFRICA. Petherick coll. 1858. P.R. coll. 104. [rev] 1884.78.29 [tied to object; RTS 5/4/2004].

Display History:
Displayed in Bethnal Green and South Kensington Museums (V&A) [AP]. Former display label - 3 massive iron penannular torques, E.C. AFRICA. Petherick coll ... 1858, P.R. coll. ..(104) [rectangular label associated with 1884.78.28-.30, stored in RDF; RTS 19/5/2005]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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