Lango tobacco pipe

Lango tobacco pipe
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1925.14.13 .1 .2
North of Lake Kyoga
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1925
Tin Metal , Wood Plant , Plant Fibre , ?Bast Fibre Bark Plant , Pottery
Hammered , Bent , Socketed , Wound , Handbuilt , Modelled Decorated Incised Burnished Fire-hardened
Total L = 311 mm; L stem = 273 mm; L mouthpiece = 226 mm, diam mouth opening = 2 mm; W mouthpiece at base = 10 mm; W wooden stem = 8.2, th = 8 mm; base opening stem = 2 mm; bowl L = 65.5 mm; diam top of stem for bowl = 20.4 mm, opening = 10 mm; diam bowl
[.1] 60 g,, [.2] 8.8 g; total: 68.8 g
Other Owners:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Field Collector:
Jack Herbert Driberg
PRM Source:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Donated 1925
Collected Date:
By 1925
Pipe for smoking tobacco, consisting of a long tin mouthpiece on wooden stem, 1925.14.13.2 and separate pottery bowl, 1925.14.13.1. The mouthpiece has been made from a sheet of metallic grey tin (Pantone 423C) rolled into a hollow cylinder with narrow mouth and a body that gradually widens towards its base. This has been fitted over a wooden pipe stem, made from soft wood with reddish brown exterior surface (Pantone 469C) and a pale yellow pith (Pantone 7507C), with a narrow hole bored through its length [.2]. A broad strip of reddish brown plant fibre, possibly bark or bast, has been wrapped around the stem just below this mouthpiece (Pantone 730C), presumably to create a tighter fit between wooden stem and ceramic bowl. The tip of the stem has been burnt black, presumably from contact with burning tobacco in the latter. The pipe bowl, 1925.14.13.1, has been hand made from a well levigated clay with gold-coloured mica inclusions, fired a dark brown to black throughout (Pantone black 7C) and burnished over the exterior surface. This consists of a short cylindrical upper body with flat top, joined to the side of a globular bowl with convex sides and base, with only a narrow hole connecting the two parts. The upper part of the bowl itself appears to be damaged, with the outer surface lost and an irregular holemouth rim edge that may not be original. The area just below the rim is decorated with the remnants of a band of short vertical incised lines. The stem section appears to be complete, and the bowl piece is nearly complete. Together, stem and bowl have a total weight of 68.8 grams, and a total length of 311 mm. The stem section weighs 8.8 grams and is 273 mm long, with the mouthpiece having a length of 226 mm, an opening 2 mm across, and a maximum width at its base of 10 mm; the wooden stem is 8.2 mm wide and 8 mm thick, with a base opening of 2 mm across; the pottery bowl weighs 60 grams, and 65.5 is mm long, with a top diameter of 20.4 mm and a top opening of 10 mm across; the bowl body measures 41.5 mm in diameter, while the current rim diameter is 28 mm.

Collected by Jack Herbert Driberg in Uganda, North of Lake Kyoga, and donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1925. Museum records do not give the Lango name for this type of object.

Driberg discusses pottery manufacture amongst the Lango: "Pottery is not confined to a manufacturing class, but pots are made by the males of the family as required, the women fetching the clay ( dagi) from the riverbeds ... The clay is used unmixed, and the smaller pots are moulded by hand from the lump. In the case of the larger pots the base is moulded and the pot is gradually built up by successive strips of clay. When it is finished the pot is left for three or four days until quite dry, and then thickly wrapped in grass, which is fired from the base upwards. While the pot is still damp a small piece of stick ( aked or agor) about one and a half inches long and spirally fretted is rolled over it to impress such patterns as the maker may choose, and the inside of the pot is gently smoothed with a calabash scraper called akwaya... Clay pipes are very roughly made, as they are only used by old men" (J.H. Driberg, 1923, The Lango, p. 88).

It seems to be quite common to find mica mixed in with Sudanese clays. Schweinfurth noted this was the case for Bongo pottery, which he suggested made their wares very brittle; he believed this mix to be naturally occurring and that the Bongo potters did not know how to remove it from their fabrics (G. Schweinfurth, 1873, In the Heart of Africa Volume I, p. 292). The statement that Lango potters used clay 'unmixed' suggests that the mica was naturally occurring in this case.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 189] - 1925 [pencil insert] 14 [end insert] J.H. DRIBERG , Esq. c/o the Postmaster, Khartoum. Specimens collected by himself among the LANGO tribe in the UGANDA PROTECTORATE, N. of LAKE KIOGA. Viz: [...] 1925.209 [pencil insert] 13 [end insert] - Tobacco-pipe with black pottery bowl & tin stem.
Additional Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 25 top, in pencil] - blue numbers not valid & not on specimens. Inserted by an assistant in error.

Detailed Pipes [Unsorted] Card Catalogue entry - Description: Tobacco pipe. Round bowl of pottery, black in colour, very slender, tapered iron stem, the iron stem is connected with the pottery stem piece by a short piece of brown wood bound round with sinew. Total length 31 cm (bowl and stempiece 6.5 cm, wooden connection 2 cm, iron stem 22.5 cm) Bowl height c 4 cm outer width at top c 3.2 cm max width 4.2 cm People: Lango tribe Locality: Uganda Prot. (N. of L. Kioga) How Acquired: dd JH Driberg 1925 [Drawing].

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribal catalogue card [RTS 24/5/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Tobacco-pipe. LANGO tribe. UGANDA PROT. (N. of L. KIOGA). Pres. by J.H. Driberg, 1925 [Rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object; RTS 19/10/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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