Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
?Mundo [?Dinka ?Bongo ?Nuer ?Shilluk]
Date Made:
?Before 1858
Iron Metal
Hammered , Polished , Punched
Max L = 210 mm Max W = 230 mm Th = 13.3 mm [RTS 28/4/2004].
376.4 g
Other Owners:
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.
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 angular, lozenge-shaped section, bent into an oval loop with tapering ends with irregular concave depressions in the upper faces, just touching one another. This has been decorated with a series of notches cut across the sharp upper edge, arranged into six groups of 48, 37, 41, 32, 40 and 35 notches respectively. The notches are lentoid in shape and have been punched into the surface at an angle. These become more shallow towards either end, where a series of additional cuts have been made at right angles, creating an irregular x-shaped design. The surface of the torque is irregular with hammering marks still visible across it; this has been polished and is currently a metallic gray colour (Pantone 421C). The object is complete and intact, and has an external width of 230 mm, an external length of 210 mm, with the internal measurements being 206 by 190 mm. The bar from which it has been made measures 13.3 by 13.2 mm and weighs 376.4 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. This particular object could be the necklet illustrated in Petherick's unpublished sketchbook, in which case, it is probably to be attributed to the Mundo, and would have been collected by this time to his first return to England in 1859 (Wellcome library MS 5789, p. 16, with page title 'BAER'). If not, it could date from his return to Khartoum in 1861; material from this second visit was shipped to England in 1865 and sold at a later auction. 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.
Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Iron torque with notched ornamentation. E. CENT. AFRICA. Petherick coll. 1858. P.R. coll. 104 [tied to object, RTS 28/4/2004].
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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