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 , Iron Metal , Plant Fibre
Plaited , Bound , Twisted , Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Bent Stained? Painted? Incised Decorated
L belt = 555, W = 8.8, th = 5 mm; W belt strips = 3 mm, th = 0.7 mm; binding strips W = 4 to 6 mm; cord diam = 0.6 mm; length chain apron = 100 mm; oval links L = 6, W = 1, th = 1 mm [RTS 15/9/2004].
383.6 g
Local Name:
del achudi
Other Owners:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Field Collector:
Jack Herbert Driberg
PRM Source:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Donated 1925
Collected Date:
By 1925
Belt made from four strips of brown animal hide with dark brown and buff coloured hair on the surface (Pantone 439C and 7508C). These have been plaited together in pairs, passing in and out of slots cut at regular intervals along the bodies of both, to create a herringbone pattern. The belt was then bent into a loop that would fit around the waist, and the unplaited ends crossed over, leaving the four hide strips to extend beyond the back as a stiff 'tail'. This was bound around with several rectangular hide strips, fastened end to end to form a continuous length, then tied off at the bottom and with the loose end tucked under the binding at the top. The very tips of the straight hide 'tail' strips extend slightly beyond the end of this bound area, and the projecting end of one of these has been decorated with incised crosshatching. The surface of the belt has been thickly coated with red ochre (Pantone 483C).

A series of iron chains hang down to form an apron at the front, attached to the centre of the belt using a length of twisted two stranded plant fibre; the original colour of this is obscured by surface ochre. This cord has been passed through the top link of every length of chain and around the lower half of the belt; it is secured at either end by being wound several times around the belt body with the loose ends tucked beneath the binding. There are 126 short lengths of iron chain in this apron, each composed of roughly between 29 and 32 metallic grey links (Pantone 421C). The chain lengths are in two different styles. One style, which makes up the majority of pieces, consists of a series of short oval links, hammered into loops with touching ends and fastened at right angles to one another. The second style is used for 8 adjacent lengths at the centre of the apron that are slightly more shiny than their neighbours; here each link is made from a short piece of iron rod or wire, with its ends curled into the body, and the centre twisted so each link joins to its neighbour at a right angle. The base of the apron is held together with a narrow strip of hide, threaded through the lowest link in each chain length and then knotted at either end to keep it in place.

The object appears to be complete, and has a weight of 383.6 grams. The apron is 555 mm long from the end of the tail to the front of the belt. The strips making up the tail are 3 mm wide and 0.7 mm thick; the binding strips are from 4 to 6 mm wide; the belt body is 8.8 by 5 mm wide and rectangular in section; the cord has a diameter of 0.6 mm; the chain apron has a maximum length of 100 mm, and the oval links are 6 mm long, 1 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 apron, see 1925.14.7. Another example (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).

The object is currently on display in the Lower Gallery, case 110C.

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 [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].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Girl's belt & chain apron, (del & ariko, with tail, achudi) LANGO tribe, UGANDA PROT. (N. of L. KIOGA). Pres. by J.H. Driberg, 1925. [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 24/10/2005]
Pitt Rivers Museum display label - UGANDA, N. OF L. KIOGA. Girl's belt and chain-apron (del and ariko), with tail (achudi). J.A. Driberg, 1925. [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 25/10/2005]

Display History:
This object was featured in the Museum's in-case text produced during the DCF-funded 'What's Upstairs?' project, 20042006. [BR 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 7/11/2005]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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