Lotuko toy pop-gun

Lotuko toy pop-gun
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1922.25.5 .1 .2
[Southern Sudan] Bahr el Jebel Eastern Equatoria Between Mongalla and Torit Tarangala
Cultural Group:
Lotuko [Otuho] Koriok
Date Made:
By 1st February 1922
Wood Plant , ?Bamboo Plant
Carved , Polished
Max L [.2] = 418 mm Max Diam [.2] = 8 mm L [.1] = 308 mm Max Diam = 18.5 mm Max Diam [.1 hole] = 11 mm [RTS 5/7/2004].
62.1 g
Other Owners:
Bought from a small boy at Tarangala by C.G. Seligman on 1st February 1922, while conducting research in the Southern Sudan [based on information collected by Fran Larson from the unpublished diaries of C.G. and B.Z. Seligman, in the Archives of the Londo
Field Collector:
Charles Gabriel Seligman & Brenda Zara Seligman
PRM Source:
Charles Gabriel Seligman
Donated July 1922
Collected Date:
1st February 1922
Wooden toy 'pea-shooter' made in two pieces, consisting of a round-sectioned piece of light yellowish brown wood (Pantone 7509C), hollowed out to form a cylinder with open ends. These ends taper slightly where the surface has been shaved, leaving distinctive tool marks in the form of a series of facets. The rest of the cylinder surface has been slightly polished. A separate stick has been inserted through the centre of the cylinder; this has been cut to size and may have had some bark removed, but is otherwise unmodified. It is roughly straight, with some slight natural irregularities of form. This stick slides up and down the cylinder, acting as a piston to fire pellets out from the larger, open end. The surface of the stick is stained with dark brown patches, perhaps from the dung that made up each pellet, and the firing end is slightly splayed and has begun to fray. The object is complete and intact, with minor surface scratches and discolouration. The stick is 418 mm long and has a diameter of 8 mm, while the cylinder is 308 mm long and has an external diameter of 18.5 mm, while the hole through it measures 11 mm across. The object weights 62.1 grams in total.

Brenda Seligman mentions this item in her field journal entry for the 1st February, 1922, while at the settlement of Tarangala, which is located between the towns of Mongalla and Torit: "While waiting [to get into the house of Etiame widow of Lokiti, who they hoped to visit] saw a small boy playing with a pop gun, made of bamboo, goat dung used as missile – it makes a fine pop. CGS bought it". A note on the facing page adds: "I have not seen one any where else, if it is an invention, it is a very clever one". The journal from which this excerpt has been taken is held in the London School of Economics Library archives, file 1/4/6; C.G.S. is her husband, Charles Gabriel Seligman (information courtesy of Fran Larson). Seligman was told the item was called something like
nagliuroden, but was uncertain whether this was the name of the object itself, or the material from which it was made.

Rachael Sparks 14/9/2005.

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: 1922.309 [pencil insert] 5 [end insert] - Toy pop-gun for shooting goats' dung pellets [...] 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].

Related Documents File - 1922.25: letter from C.G. Seligman to Henry Balfour, dated 16th July 1922 and clearly in response to some questions about this group of material: "Neglect the word Nagliurodu [handwriting unclear, could be Nagliuroden or Nagliuroden] or whatever it is on label of popgun - I could not satisfy myself as to what it really meant, probably it is only the name of a kind of bamboo of which the toy is made." [RTS 1/7/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, SUDAN, Upper Nile LOTUKO Toy pop-gun for shooting Goats' dung pellets Donated C.G. Seligman 1922 [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 8/3/2005]

Written on object - Toy pop-gun for shooting goats' dung pellets. LATUKA, UPPER NILE, Pres. by Dr C.G. Seligman, 1922.25.5 [RTS 1/7/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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