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 knife
Date Made:
By 1930
Iron Metal , Wood Plant
Hammered , Incised , Punched , Carved , Stained
L = 204 mm, max W blade 33 mm, th blade 2.3 mm [RTS 17/2/2004]
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
Small knife with carved wooden handle, consisting of a flat end, slightly concave in places and roughly oval in plan view, with a narrow flat outer edge, then concave sides flaring in and then sharply out to form the handle guard. The body of the handle is round in section, but this flattens out as the handle splays out, becoming sub rectangular at its widest point. The guard end is cut flat, with a slot cut into it to receive the blade tang; this slot has been widened at the centre on either side to accommodate the thicker midrib of the blade. The other end of this tang can be seen projecting from the flat handle end, where it has been bent over and hammered back into the wood to fix it in place. The blade is made of silvery gray coloured iron (Pantone 423C), with a narrow, leaf-shaped form consisting of a slightly angular midrib running down the centre of the length on either side, representing the thickest part, thinning out towards each of the two cutting edges; this gives the blade a flattened, lozenge-shaped section. The edges curve in to a slightly blunt or rounded point. The blade is decorated along the centre of its length on both upper and lower surfaces, with an incised zigzag motif formed from a series of short oblique lines in alternating directions; occasionally these overlap at the ends. Probably hammering marks may be seen on the surface of the blade. Complete; there is no damage along either cutting edge of the blade, but the projecting handle guard has been damaged on one side. This looks to have been subsequently polished over, as it is stained the same glossy mid brown colour of the rest of the handle (Pantone 463C). Total length of object 204 mm, length of 69.5 mm, length of blade to hilt 134.5 mm; width of flat handle end 32.5 x 30 mm, diameter of handle body 15.6 mm, width of handle guard 48 mm, thickness of handle guard 12.3 mm; maximum width of blade 33 mm, maximum thickness of blade 2.3 mm, thickness of blade edge 0.2 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. 1930.86.12 probably appears on the list as one of "3 daggers" [RTS 17/5/2004].

Written on object - JUR, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL Evans Pritchard coll. Pur. 31.12.1930 (on side of handle), JUR (in pencil, on end of handle).

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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