Lotuko [Otuho] shaft-straightener

Lotuko [Otuho] shaft-straightener
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Bahr el Jebel? Eastern Equatoria?
Cultural Group:
Lotuko [Otuho]
Date Made:
By March 1922
Wood Plant
Carved , Perforated
L = 660, max W = 89, th = 35.5, opening L = 53, W = 22 mm [RTS 28/6/2005].
698.1 g
Other Owners:
Collected by Charles Gabriel Seligman and his wife Brenda Zara Seligman while conducting research in the Southern Sudan. They entered Lokoiya and Lotuko territory in January 1922, with their itinerary including visits to the Bellinian rest house (11th-13t
Field Collector:
Charles Gabriel Seligman & Brenda Zara Seligman
PRM Source:
Charles Gabriel Seligman
Donated July 1922
Collected Date:
January to March 1922
Shaft straightener carved from a single piece of wood, with a conical knob on top of an ovoid body that tapers in to a solid cylindrical handle, the base of which has been carved in the shape of a more elongated cone with pointed tip. An oval hole has been cut into the centre of the upper body, with the surface of the wood sloping down towards the opening at its top and bottom ends on both sides. A wooden shaft would be fitted through this hole, and rubbed along these sloping areas to finish its surface. These areas have been worn smooth through use. The straightener is essentially complete, but with some chips and flaws across the surface and a few cut marks. The upper part is a light brown colour; the handle is a darker reddish brown (Pantone 4625C). It has a weight of 698.1 grams and is 660 mm long, with a maximum width of 89 mm and thickness of 35.5 mm, and an opening that measures 53 by 22 mm across.

This object was amongst material donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1940, from the collection of Charles Gabriel Seligman and his wife Brenda Zara Seligman. It was collected by them from the Lotuko while conducting research in the Southern Sudan during 1922. Although they do not specify the provenance of the object, their personal diaries provide a record of their movements, showing that they entered Lokoiya and Lotuko territory in January 1922, with their itinerary including visits to the Bellinian rest house (11th-13th), a resthouse on the Mongalla-Torit road (14th), Ngala and Hangare Lokoiya (15th), Lokoiya (17th), Lokila (18th), Lobula (19th), Torit (20-23rd), Lebalwa (24th), Tarangala (25th January to 4th February), Idumela and Lugurn (4th February), Lopi (6th), Kiri Kiak (7th), Legoprof (10-16th), Lopir and Lomu (16th), Losua village (17th) and then back to Torit on February 20th. After that, they ventured into Acholi territory, then back into Torit and the surrounding area from March 5th to around March 15th (based on information collected by Fran Larson from the unpublished diaries of C.G. and B.Z. Seligman, in the Archives of the London School of Economics, Seligman manuscripts, files 1/4/1 and 1/4/6).

For similar shaft straighteners, see 1940.12.624-625 (Lotuko), 1929.47.2 (Rumbek Jur) and 1940.12.623.

Rachael Sparks 27/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 46] - 1922 [pencil insert] 25 [end insert] Dr C.G. SELIGMAN , F.R.S., Court Leys, Toot Baldon, Oxon. July - Specimens collected by himself during 1922, viz: 1922.305 [pencil insert] 1 [end insert] - Wooden, perforated lever for straightening spear-shafts, [...] LATUKA, UPPER NILE.
Additional Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 25 top, in pencil] - blue numbers not valid & not on specimens. Inserted by an assistant in error.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 1/6/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Lever for straightening spear-shafts. LATUKA, UPPER NILE, 1922. Pres. by Dr C.G. Seligman, 1922 [rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object; RTS 28/6/2005].

Written on object - Spear-straightener. LATUKA, UPPER NILE, 1922. d.d. Seligman, 1922 [RTS 28/6/2005].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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