Nuer shield

Nuer shield
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1925.2.1 .1 .2
[Southern Sudan] Wahda Lake No
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By February 1923
Animal Leather Skin , Animal Skin , Animal Hair , Brass Metal , String
Total L = 2028; shield body W = 425, L = 330, rim th = 14; hide handle W = 10.7, th = 11.5; wood handle diam = 13; shaft butt diam = 7.5 mm[RTS 31/8/2005].
>1000 g
Other Owners:
Collected by W. Sherlock Lennon on 17th February 1923, donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum by his mother, Mrs Lennon, in February 1925 [RTS 26/8/2005].
Field Collector:
W. Sherlock Lennon
PRM Source:
Mrs Lennon
Donated February 1925
Collected Date:
17 February 1923
Shield consisting of a small oval body mounted onto a long support stick. The body has been cut from a thick piece of reddish brown bullock hide (Pantone Black 4C). with the outer edge folded out at right angles to form a projecting rim, and the centre moulded into the shape of a cone with hollow underside that serves as a space for the hand-grip. 4 slots have been cut in a line down the centre, forming loops which hold a central wooden pole in place. The inside edge of the shield has been fitted with a rectangular strip of hide with traces of reddish brown hair preserved on its surface, moulded in place and then stitched together at the ends using a hide thong. An oval piece of the same type of hide has been used to line the interior of the hand-grip, with the hair-covered side facing outwards; this is held in place by the central pole, threaded through holes cut in its top and bottom; the central part of this pole serves as a handle. An additional handle of yellow hide runs down the length of the shield body, parallel with this pole (Pantone 7508C). On the front, this strip follows the contour of the shield body, turning over at the ends and fitting over the pole shaft through a large perforation in the hide. At this point, the piece has been cut into a series of strips, that run across the grip area; these have been bound round with additional narrow pieces of hide. The pole itself has been cut from a length of segmented cane or bamboo, with a pointed top and a broader, flatter butt. Above the shield body the shaft has a short section of binding made from yellow European string (Pantone 7508C), then is tightly bound with a brass strip (Pantone 871C). The lower part of its shaft has been bound round with numerous gray hide strips, many of which are only loosely wound (Pantone Warm Gray 9C). Near the centre of the lower part, long tufts of black and buff animal hair have been left in place on the strips for decoration (Pantone Black 6C and 7531C). The shield is complete, but the lower part of the shaft has broken off and is currently loose. It has a weight in excess of 1000 grams, and a total length of 2028 mm. The shield body is 425 mm wide, 330 mm long and 14 mm thick at the rim; the hide handle has a width of 10.7 mm and thickness of 11.5 mm; the wooden handle has a diameter of 13 mm, while the shaft butt has a diameter of 7.5 mm.

Collected by W. Sherlock Lennon near Lake No on 17th February 1923, and donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum by his mother, Mrs Lennon, in February 1925.

For a similar shield collected in this region by Lennon, see 1946.8.95.

Rachael Sparks 31/8/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 175] - 1925 [pencil insert] 2 [end insert] MRS LENNON - 22 Norham Road, Oxford. Feb. 1925.5 [pencil insert] 1 [end insert] - 'Circular' bossed leather shield with long thin 'parrying' stick through it, the upper end of the stick has a long bag-like piece of skin with long dark hair slid on, the lower half of the stick has hair bound on, NUER tribe, near LAKE NO, WHITE NILE, A[NGLO].-E[GYPTIAN]. SUDAN. Collected by her son, the late Major W. Sherlock Lennon, 17 Feb. 1923.
Additional Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 25 top, in pencil] - blue numbers not valid & not on specimens. Inserted by an assistant in error. [page opposite 175] [drawing of shield].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - NUER shield, near LAKE NO, WHITE NILE. A.-E. SUDAN. Collected by the late Major W.S. Lennon 17 Feb. 1923. Pres. by Mrs Lennon, 1925 [rectangular metal-edged label, fragile and so stored in the Related Documents File; RTS 31/8/2005]; AFRICA, Sudan, near Lake No. NUER tribe. Shield. Coll. W.S. Lennon 1923, 1925.2.1 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 31/8/2005].

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 23/7/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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