Lango fringe apron

Lango fringe apron
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
North of Lake Kyoga
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1925
Animal Hide Skin , Plant Fibre , Iron Metal , Brass Metal
Plaited , Bound , Twisted , Hammered , Bent
L = 662 mm, W tail strips = 4.2 mm, Th tail strips = 1.6 mm; belt body W = 10.3, th = 9.2 mm; chain length = 125 mm, links 8 mm across, W = 3.5 mm, Th = 1 mm, diam cord = 1.8 mm [RTS 30/7/2004].
221.6 g
Local Name:
achudi del ?ariko
Other Owners:
Collected by Jack Herbert Driberg.
Field Collector:
Jack Herbert Driberg
PRM Source:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Donated 1925
Collected Date:
By 1925
Belt made from three strips of brown animal hide with some light buff coloured hair on the surface (Pantone 7507C), plaited tightly together to create a herringbone pattern and bent into a loop that would fit around the waist. The ends of the loop have been crossed over, with the long hide strips beyond this point left unplaited. This part is often bound into a stiff 'tail' that extends out behind the back; in this case, the hide strips are stiff enough to project out on their own, which they do for a further 240 mm. One of the strips has been wound three times around the junction between belt loop and 'tail' to hold the belt in place, its loose end tucked underneath the binding to secure it.

An apron made of a series of iron chains that hang down to form a fringe has been attached to the centre of the belt opposite the tail. Both hide and chains are heavily coated with red ochre (Pantone 478C). The chains are sewn to the belt with a thick cord of twisted two stranded yellowish brown plant fibre (Pantone 463C); the ends of this are pushed through the belt body and left hanging loose behind. There are 16 lengths of iron chain, each composed of from 16 to 23 oval loops, somewhat irregular in size, made from short rectangular pieces of iron bent into loops with closed ends. A single brass link has been introduced into one chain; it is not clear if this is original or a repair, but note that a similar single brass loop was present on another woman's apron of this kind (see 1940.12.599). The ends of some of these chains have been fastened together using a series of horizontal links along the base of the fringe. Some of these appear to have broken, and some chains may not be their original length. Otherwise the object appears to be complete. The iron links are quite badly rusted. The apron has a weight of 221.6 grams and is 662 mm long. The strips making up the tail are 4.2 mm wide and 1.6 mm thick; the belt body is 10.3 by 9.2 mm wide; the cord has a diameter of 1.8 mm; the chain apron has a maximum length of 125 mm and the links measure 8 mm across and are made from pieces 3.5 mm wide and 1 mm thick.

Collected by Jack Herbert Driberg in Uganda, North of Lake Kyoga, and donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1925.

This type of apron was worn by an unmarried girl, and is called
ariko. the girdle part is known as del, the tail is achudi. Driberg describes this type of garment in his book on the Ugandan Lango: “From about the age of five girls wear over the pudenda a few strings or threads (called chip) made from the hibiscus, increasing in number with the age of the wearer. There are attached to a thin leather girdle ( del ) which is fastened behind and twisted into a stick-like leather continuation ( achudi) which projects backwards. If the father is prosperous, an unmarried girl wears an ariko , or apron of small metal chains in place of threads. It is given her by her father, and is increased in size according as he can get more chains made, an apron ten chains wide costing one goat. It is wearable until the woman has borne two children; but generally, when she marries, the husband takes it, and if he has a younger sister gives it to her; if not, he sells it" (J.H. Driberg 1923, The Lango, pp 64-65 and the plate facing p. 86).

According to Driberg,
achudi is simply defined as a protuberance or projection. Achudi del is specifically the projecting ends of this type of girdle (J.H. Driberg, 1923, The Lango, p. 359, defined in his Lango-English dictionary at the back of the volume).

For a similar chain apron, see 1925.14.8. A similar object (but lacking the tail) is shown worn by a Bari sculpture, acquired on or before 1861 (E. Castelli, 1987, "Bari Statuary. The Influence exerted by European Traders on the Traditional Production of Figured Objects",
RES 14, fig. 1-2).

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: [...] 1925.203, 204 [pencil insert] 7-8 [end insert] - [1 of] 2 similar girdles [married woman's girdle of plaited hide] ( del ) with apron fringe of iron chain-work, & 'tail' ( achudi ).
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 catalogue card [RTS 24/5/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Ariko , apron of chains worn by an unmarried girl. The stiff ends of the girdle stand out behind like a tail. LANGO tribe. UGANDA PROT. (N. of L[ake] KIOGA). Pres. by J.H. Driberg, 1925. The girdle = del . The 'tail' = achudi [sketch of girdle being worn] [rectangular metal edged tag, tied to object; see comment below, RTS 10/6/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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