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 , Carved , Stained
L = 219 mm, max W blade = 32 mm, max 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
Knife with carved wooden handle, consisting of an irregular, slightly convex end, oval in plan view, flaring in to the body of the handle, which is slightly oval in section. This flares out again at the junction with the blade to form a slight hand guard, flattened at either side and curved on its upper and lower faces. This is cut flat on the end, with a slot cut into it to receive the blade tang; this slot has been widened at the centre on one side to accommodate the thicker midrib of the blade, leaving a gap between blade and handle. The other end of this tang, which is rectangular in section, can be seen projecting from the handle end, where it has been bent over and hammered back into the wood to fix it in place; this has caused the wood to split at this point. The blade is made of silvery gray coloured iron (Pantone 422C), with a narrow, leaf-shaped form with rounded shoulders, the maximum width lying approximately one third the way along its length from the handle. This is thickened down the centre of the length on either side, thinning out towards each of the two cutting edges, giving the blade a flattened, lozenge-shaped section. There are some minor nicks along the edge on one side, and more significant damage along the opposite edge that has caused the metal to curl over at one point; these probably indicate use wear. The blade tapers in to a slightly rounded point at the other end. Hammering marks are visible on both surfaces of the blade. Tool marks are also evident on the handle, which is slightly glossy and may have been stained a mid brown (Pantone 463C). Total length of object 219 mm, length of handle (excluding projecting tang) 71.7 mm, length of visible blade (to hilt) 146 mm; width of handle end 31.5 x 29 mm, width handle body 18.7 x 18.3 mm, width of handle guard 30 mm, thickness of guard 14.7 mm; maximum width of blade 32 mm, maximum thickness of blade 2.3 mm, thickness of blade edge 0.1 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. 1930.86.13 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 [marked on handle; RTS 16/2/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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