Shilluk club

Shilluk club
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Jonglei Bor
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1903
Ebony Wood Plant
Carved , Polished
L = 740, max W = 36.2, max th = 34; min W = 20, min th = 19.5 mm [RTS 11/5/2005].
657.1 g
Field Collector:
Donald Gunn
PRM Source:
Donald Gunn
Donated 1903
Collected Date:
By 1903
Throwing club carved from a single piece of ebony, consisting of a pointed head with flattened tip, swelling out below into a narrow, oval-sectioned body that reaches its maximum diameter about one third the way along its length, with the shaft then tapering in to a flat ended butt. The lower half of the club has been decorated with a series of parallel v-shaped grooves running down the sides. The wood is a orange brown colour (Pantone 4635C) banded with darker reddish brown (Pantone black 4C); this has been polished throughout. The club is complete, and intact, except for a small area of surface damage on the lower body. It has a weight of 657.1 grams and is 740 mm long, with a maximum diameter of 36.2 by 34 mm, and a minimum diameter at the end of 20 by 19.5 mm.

Collected by Donald Gunn at Bor in the Southern Sudan and presented to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1903. Gunn appears to have collected other Shilluk material from the ‘White Nile’, ‘Upper Nile’, and Kodok.

This object was used as a throwing club, and was originally described as Mandari, who occupy an area south of Bor, but was changed to Shilluk when the item was accessioned. This type of club is used by both the Shilluk and the Mandari (pers. comm. J. Coote 2005).

Rachael Sparks 18/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [III, p. 110] - 1903 [pencil insert] 16 [end insert] DR D. GUNN Esq., M.B. 40 Dover Street, London, W. June. [...] [p. 113] - The following from the Shilluk tribe, Upper Nile. viz: [p. 114, pencil insert] 118-119 [end insert] - [One of] 2 long throwing clubs, Barh [sic] el Gebel (obtained at Bor).

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes or clubs catalogue cards [RTS 23/7/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, Sudan, Bor. Shilluk tribe, wooden club with grooved handle. Coll. Donald Gunn, 1903.16.118 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 11/5/2005].

Written on object - ?SHIR tribe. BAHR EL GEBEL, (obtained at BOR). Pres. by Dr. D. Gunn, 1903 [RTS 6/4/2005].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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