Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
?Dinka ?Bongo ?Mundo ?Nuer ?Shilluk
Date Made:
?Before 1865
Iron Metal
Hammered , Polished , Punched , Decorated
Max L = 170 mm Max W = 201 mm Th = 10.5 mm [RTS 28/4/2004].
246.7 g
Other Owners:
Collected in Sudan by John Petherick, sometime between 1853 and 1859, or 1861 to 1865. Subsequently acquired by Pitt Rivers by 1868, perhaps via auction, as Petherick is known to have sold some of his collection through Mr Bullock of High Holborn, London
Field Collector:
John Petherick
PRM Source:
Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers founding collection
Donated 1884
Collected Date:
1853 - 1859 or 1861 - 1865
Heavy penannular torque made from a thick iron bar with an angular, lozenge-shaped section, bent into an oval loop with slightly tapering, flat cut ends, 24 mm apart. It has been decorated with a series of notches cut across the sharp upper top edge of the object, arranged into five groups of 35, 41, 21, 32 and 42 notches respectively. The notches are lentoid in shape, and look to have been punched into the surface, sometimes at a slight angle. Hammer marks are visible on the surface, which has been polished and is currently a metallic gray colour (Pantone 421C). The object is complete and intact, and measures 201 mm across its outer width, 182 mm across the inside edges, and has a length of 170 mm, while the bar from which it has been made measures 10.5 by 10.5 mm and weighs 246.7 grams.

Collected in Sudan by John Petherick, who was based in Khartoum between 1853 and March 1859, during which period he mounted five trading expeditions into Southern Sudan, and encountered several groups of Shilluk, Dinka, Raik Dinka, Dor (Bongo), and Mundo. His collections from this time were shipped back to London in 1859, and sold at auction 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. Petherick returned to Khartoum in 1861, and travelled south via the Bahr el Abiad, Bahr el Jebel and then overland to Gondokoro, passing through Nuer and probably Dinka (the 'Kytch' = Cic Dinka?) territories. Any material obtained at this time would have returned to England with Petherick in 1865, where it was sold at a later auction. Pitt Rivers could have purchased the item at either event. 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.

This object is currently on display in the Lower Gallery, case 96A.

Rachael Sparks 30/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book IV entry [p. 171] - [insert] 1884.78 [end insert] PERSONAL ORNAMENTS. TORQUES RINGS, BRACELETS [insert] 31, 32 [end insert] - [1 of] 2 large ditto [iron pennanular torques] with notched ornamentation. ibid [E.C. AFRICA] Petherick coll. (104).
Collectors Miscellaneous XI Accession Book entry [p. 193] - PETHERICK, Consul [...] [insert] 1884.78.31, .32 [end insert] 2 large ditto [iron penannular torques] with notched ornamentation. ibid. [E[ast] Cent[ral] Africa] (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.
Pitt Rivers Museum label - Iron torque with notched ornamentation. E. CENT. AFRICA. Petherick coll. 1858. P.R.coll. 104. [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 19/4/2005]
Pitt Rivers Museum display label - Two massive iron torques with notched ornamentation. E.C. AFRICA. Petherick coll. 1858. P.R.coll [104] [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 19/4/2005]

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

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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