Hoe, Bari or Dodinga

Hoe, Bari or Dodinga
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]?
Cultural Group:
Bari? Dodinga?
Date Made:
?Before 1874
Metal Iron , Cane Plant? , Bamboo Plant?
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved
Total L = 1639; hoe blade L = 204, W = 193, th = 8.5, socket diam = 31.5; shaft diam = 23.5; spud end L = 149, socket diam = 34.5, blade W at end = 35.2, th = 14 mm [RTS 18/7/2005].
> 1000 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
Hoe made in three parts, consisting of a flat iron blade with curved working edge and crescent-shaped body, cut roughly flat at the wings. This is thickest at the centre, with a rectangular tongue extends out from the base. This has been bent up at the sides to form a cylindrical socket, hammered to fit around a solid wooden handle, made of either cane or bamboo. The socket is open along one side. The shaft is a yellow to orangey brown colour (Pantone 730C) and has a segmented body with six sections along its length, cut flat at both ends. At the base, another iron blade has been added. This has a similarly open cylindrical socket at the top, fitted over the shaft butt, then thickens to form a roughly rectangular body that splays out at its base to form a chisel end with convex leading edge. Both ends of the hoe are designed for working the soil. The metal has a slight yellowish tinge and probably has an incralac coating; both are complete. The handle has split along its body in several places. The hoe has a weight in excess of 1000 grams, and a total length of 1639 mm. The hoe blade is 204 mm long, 193 mm wide and 8.5 mm thick, with a socket diameter of 31.5 mm; the shaft has an upper diameter of 23.5 by 22.5 mm, while the 'spud' end has a length of 149 mm, socket diameter of 34.5 mm, blade width of 35.2 mm and thickness of 14 mm.

This object was sent by Pitt Rivers to the Bethnal Green Display, probably in 1874; it became part of the founding collection for the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1884. It is attributed to the White Nile, a term that was generically used at the time it was obtained
to refer loosely to the Bahr el Abiad and Bahr el Jebel rivers, or the areas immediately around them. It may be of Bari or Dodinga origin.

Major Powell-Cotton visited the Bari in 1904, where he observed a group of Bari blacksmiths forging hoes; these were subsequently sold to the chief of the Bari in Uganda for flour (P.H.G. Powell-Cotton, 1907, "A Journey Through the Eastern Portion of the Congo State", Geographical Journal 30.4, p. 373). Seligman suggests that amongst the Bari hoeing was an activity carried out by men and boys (C.G. and B.Z. Seligman, 1928, "The Bari", Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 58, 415).

Rachael Sparks 29/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book IV Entry [p. 11] - 1884.9. AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS [insert] 10 [end insert] - 811 - Hoe with crescent-shaped iron blade on stout cane shaft with heavy spud end. WHITE NILE TO C. AFRICA.
Additional Accession Book Entry [PR IV, page opposite 11] - Pitt Rivers (A.L.F.) Cat. of weapons No. 811 [drawing of crescentic blade].
Black book entry [p. 24] - Sticks & Staves [p. 26] S[creen] 31. 733-44. Spears (12) iron, with spuds at end. Used all through Africa from E to W & also in Madagascar & the Malay archipelago. [insert] 809 & 810 [end insert].
Pitt Rivers Catalogue Entry (1874) [p. 104] Spuds at the butt end of lances have a continuous geographical distribution, which makes them of interest in speculating upon the introduction of the art of working iron in Africa. Nos 800 to 811, Fig. 88 are the objects here referred to. [p. 119] - SCREEN 31. SOUTH WALL. SPEARS WITH SPUD ENDS. [...] HOE with a blade similar to those used for axes in South-east Africa and a spud at the end. White Nile to Central Africa. [p. 139] In the succeeding specimens the ogee is lost and the flanges or barbs of the arrow shaped axe are gradually lengthened, fig. 107. No 811 already described, upon the south wall between the windows, shows this form of applied to the purpose of a hoe, and is from the White Nile.
Card Catalogue Entry - AFRICA. WHITE NILE to CENTRAL AFRICA. 811. Hoe with a blade similar to those used for axes in SOUTHEAST AFRICA and a spud at the end. Lane Fox, later P.R. coll.
Pitt Rivers Museum label? - Hoe, with iron axe-shaped on stout cane shaft with heavy sp[ud]. WHITE NILE to CENTRAL AFRICA. P.R. Coll. (811) (743 Black) [handwritten in ink on obverse]; Prob Bari. ? N. Nigeria [reverse, in pencil; oval tag with metal eyelet, in 2 pieces, removed to RDF 1884.9.10]; AFRICA, Sudan? Possibly Bari or Doginga. Hoe with crescentic iron blade. Original Pitt Rivers Collection, 1884.9.10 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 18/7/2005].
Written on object - Agricultural spud, WHITE NILE, E. CETRAL AFRICA (?BARI or DODINGA) PR coll. (811-743) [DCF Court Team 9/2/2004]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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