Rumbek Jur knife

Rumbek Jur knife
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] ?Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Western Bahr el Ghazal ?Warab ?El Buheyrat ?Western Equatoria
Cultural Group:
Rumbek Jur
Date Made:
By 1930
Iron Metal , Wood Plant
Hammered , Carved , Incised , Stained
Total L = 300 mm, min W handle = 19 mm, min th handle = 18 mm, max w blade = 35.5, max th blade = 2.7 mm [RTS 9/2/2004]
Other Owners:
Purchased from Edward Evans-Pritchard for the PRM by Henry Balfour on 31 December 1930, as part of a group of objects, total cost 25
Field Collector:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Purchased 31 December 1930
Collected Date:
By 1930
Double-edged knife consisting of a wooden handle with flat end and cylindrical body, roughly oval in section, flaring out at the other end to form a broad flat oval surface at junction with blade, with a rectangular slot into which the tang is inserted. This is slightly wider at the centre to accommodate the blade and midrib above the tang. The wood has cracked slightly at this point. The handle bears incised decoration, consisting of irregular cross hatching across the flat upper end, with a zigzag formed of short cuts in opposing directions around the body just below, then further cross hatching to cover the flaring handle guard. The wood is a glossy orange brown (Pantone 469C), and appears to have been stained and polished. The tang is masked by the handle and not visible; the iron blade (Pantone 430C) is narrow, with a rounded shoulder and a body that tapers gradually in towards the point. The blade has a thickened but not well defined rib running down the centre of its length, thinning on either side to form two cutting edges, producing a flat, lozenge-shaped section. These edges are flattened just before the somewhat elongated point, which has a blunted end. The blade has what may be hammering marks along its surface, and is damaged on one edge; there is also some damage to the handle guard and the side of the handle, which may have been polished over. The object is otherwise complete. Total length 300 mm, length of visible blade 199 mm, length of handle 101 mm, maximum width of handle at the flaring end 36.8 x 22.8 mm, minimum width of handle (shaft) 19 x 18 mm, maximum width of blade 35.5 mm, maximum thickness of blade 2.7 mm.

Collected by Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard in the Rumbek district, which lies in the modern administrative area of El Buheyrat, probably sometime between March and April 1929. The group this object belonged to are probably one of the sub-tribes of the Rumbek Jur (Beli, Sofi, Gberi, Mittu or Lori).

Rachael Sparks 18/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [BIV, p. 138] - 1930 [insert] 86 [end insert] E.E. EVANS PRITCHARD 31 Dec. Specimens collected by himself in the EASTERN SUDAN, etc. [...] [insert] 11-13 [end insert] - [1 of] 3 double-edged dagger-knives JUR, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL [...] [base of p. 139, total of items 1930.86.1-65] - P[ai]d by cheque 31 Dec £ 25-0-0 .
Added Accession Book Entry [page opposite 138] - 1930.86 See Related Documents File for letter from Henry Balfour to Evans-Pritchard concerning the purchase of this collection.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 27/4/2004].

Related Documents File - This contains a letter from Balfour to Evans-Pritchard, dated 31 December 1930 that specifies the objects which he would like to purchase for the Pitt Rivers Museum, and suggests a price of £25, which was one quarter of his annual budget. The list matches the objects ultimately accessioned quite closely. 1930.86.11 probably appears on the list as one of "3 daggers".

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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