Jur bow

Jur bow
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] ?Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Western Bahr el Ghazal ?Warab ?El Buheyrat ?Western Equatoria
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1917
Wood Plant , Animal Sinew , Reptile Skin , ?Resin Plant , ?Animal Hide Skin , ?Animal Leather Skin
Carved , Twisted , Bound
L = 1548 mm, W of bow shaft 24.4 mm, W of bow string 2.8 mm [RTS 20/2/2004]
Other Owners:
Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, probably collected in the period immediately before World War I (1909-1914) [RTS 1/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson
PRM Source:
Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson
Donated October 1917
Collected Date:
By 1917
Bow made from a long piece of light brown wood (Pantone 464C), tapering to either end, and strung so that the bow shaft forms a simple, shallow arc. The shaft is round to slightly oval in section throughout. The wood has been polished. A short narrow strip or strips of reptile skin, possibly crocodile or lizard, around 2 mm in width, has been wound around the bow shaft some 53 mm from the end, with the loose end of the strip secured in place by tucking it underneath the other loops. This forms a 24 mm long band that acts as a stop, to keep the end of the bow string located in the correct position. This part of the bow shaft appears to be coated with a dark purple brown material (Pantone 4975C), possibly resin, that may have been painted on as an adhesive or binding agent; on top of this a piece of leather or hide has been wound round the shaft, perhaps to provide padding when carrying the bow over one shoulder. This covers an area of 143 mm, and no overlapping or joining pieces are visible; the surface is a similar colour to the material on the wood below, and the binding has probably received a further coating of this over its surface. This piece may have originally extended further down the bow shaft, covering a further 62 mm, but subsequently come away from the shaft, leaving the underlying adhesive exposed. A further narrow strip or strips of reptile skin has been wound around the shaft, 50 mm from the other end, and covering a larger area, 178 mm in length. The ends of this can be seen tucked under the binding in two areas. The bow has been strung with a single cord made of twisted sinew. This is attached to one end with a double loop around the bow shaft, the cord pulled through this and knotted, then fastened at the other end with another double loop that has been pulled tight, the loose end of the cord then wound several times around the bow shaft and tucked underneath the resulting loops. The bow string is no longer taut. The original colour of the string would appear to be a light yellow brown (Pantone 466C), but the surface is much darker. Length (when strung) 1548 mm, width of shaft at centre 24.4 mm, thickness of shaft at centre 24 mm, diameter of bow string (taut area) 2.8 mm, diameter of cord wound around shaft 3.5 mm.

Collected by Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, probably in the period immediately before World War I (1909-1914), in the province then known as Bahr el Ghazal. At the time this object was collected, this was much larger than it is today, extending from roughly the Bahr el Arab all the way to the border with the Belgian Congo; this area is now divided into the districts of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and parts of Warab, El Buheyrat and Western Equatoria.

Currently on display in the Upper Gallery, case 13A.

Rachael Sparks 29/8/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VI, p. 54] - 1917 [pencil insert] 25 [end insert] MAJOR R.G. GAYER-ANDERSON , R.A.M.C. The Lodge, Old Marston, Oxon [pencil insert] 6 [end insert] - Bow, Jur tribe, Bahr-el-Gazal.
Additional accession book entry
[page opposite 54] - A gift to the Pitt Rivers Museum in memory of Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson, Pasha, his twin brother Colonel J.G. Gayer-Anderson, C.M.G., D.S.O. 1917.25.6 No. given AP, l[ength] = 1570 mm [in red biro] A19 F12 9 & 10.

Display label - SUDAN, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL PROVINCE; JUR. Segmented bow, the ends bound in leather and a strip of reptile skin. Donated by Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson. 1917.25.6 [label currently in case with object, RTS 2/2/2004].

Card Catalogue Entry -
The tribes card repeats the accession book entry, but has been annotated in red biro: 'A19 F12 9 + 10 8. The object card is annotated A19 F12 9+10 [RTS 27/4/2004].

Related Documents File
- Two letters dated 30/03/1917 and 13/04/1917 from the donor to Henry Balfour regarding the donation of the collection to the museum [EB 12/11/2001]. These indicate that the material was collected by Robert Gayer-Anderson himself, chiefly from the areas of Nuba, Kordofan and Bahr el Ghazal during 5 years he spent in the Sudan, and that they were given to the museum as an unconditional gift [RTS 5/12/2003]. The note in the accession book calling this gift 'in memory of' R.G. Gayer-Anderson is therefore somewhat enigmatic, as both Robert and his twin brother (Thomas G., not J.G.) were alive at the time of the transfer [RTS 5/12/2003].

Written on object - JUR bow, BAHR-EL-GAZAL. Pres. by Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson, 1917.25.6 [on centre of bow; note that the '5' has been written as a reversed digit; RTS 20/2/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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