Jur fishing harpoon

Jur fishing harpoon
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan?]
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1930
Wood Plant , Plant Fibre
Carved , Burnt , Twisted , Wound , Tied
L = 2628, W shaft = 13, th shaft = 12.5, diam harpoon line = 2.8, diam binding cord = 1 mm [RTS 13/12/2004].
178.6 g
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
Fishing harpoon, consisting of a very long and slender wooden body. This is a yellowish brown colour (Pantone 7509C), and has a segmented body in 12 sections. It has been cut flat at the base, and shaved to a slight point at the other end. Burning marks around each of the joints show where subsidiary branches have been removed. A thick length of twisted, 2 ply plant fibre cord has been secured to the upper body, with its upper part loosely coiled around the shaft then terminating in a broken end. This originally would have continued as a base-line for a detachable harpoon head, that is currently missing; we are told that this was barbed. The line was fixed to the shaft below this using 2 thinner lengths of twisted fibre cord. One of these was wound several times around the wooden body and then tied to the line; below it, the line continues, then has its end anchored with a second length of cord, wound around the shaft and tied to it in a similar fashion. These two bindings are loose enough to move up and down the shaft slightly, which would minimise strain on the line when a fish was speared and the head was pulled back in, preventing breakages. The thicker line is currently an orangey brown colour (Pantone 469C). The harpoon has a weight of 178.6 grams, in its current state of completeness; the shaft is 2628 mm long, 13 mm wide and 12.5 mm thick, while the thick cord has a diameter of 2.8 mm and the thinner cord a diameter of 1 mm.

Collected by Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard in the Southern Sudan and purchased from him by the Pitt Rivers Museum on 31 December 1930.

This object is currently on display in the Upper Gallery, case 25A.

Rachael Sparks 29/8/2005.

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] 23 [end insert] - Fish-harpoon with barbed, detachable head, JUR. [...] [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. 1930.86.23 No. given AP L[ength] = [left blank].

Card Catalogue Entry - EASTERN SUDAN, JUR. Fish-harpoon with barbed, detachable head. [insert] head missing [end insert]. Coll. by E.E. Evans-Pritchard; purch. from him Dec. 1930. [insert] l[ength] = 2630 mm. [insert, red biro] A19 F18 33 [end insert] [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. 1930.86.23 appears on the list as "1 harpoon (Jur)" [RTS 17/5/2004].

Written on object - JUR [pencil]; fish harpoon, JUR tribe, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL, CENT. AFRICA. Evans-Pritchard coll. Pur. 31.12.1930 [ink; RTS 13/12/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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