Zande pipe

Zande pipe
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1930.86.41 .1 .2
[Southern Sudan] ?Western Bahr el Ghazal ?Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Warab ?El Buheyrat ?Western Equatoria
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1930
Wood Plant , Gourd Plant , Tin Metal? , Gilt Metal? , Resin Plant , Pottery
Carved Handbuilt Fire-hardened , Hollowed Burnt Stained , Plugged Perforated , Pegged Bent , Bound Gilded , Decorated Impressed
Total L = 654 mm. [.1] Pipe stem diam top = 16.5, with mouth opening = 11 x 9; base diam = 41.3 x 40.8; binding strip W = 5; gourd body W = 98.5, openings diam = 7 and 21. [.2] L = 138.5, bowl diam = 36.7 x 35.7, mouth diam = 25; diam around carved collar
156.5 g
Other Owners:
Probably collected by Evans-Pritchard himself during his fieldwork amongst the Zande, which took place during 1927, part of 1928 and 1929 and for several months during 1930 [CM; RTS 6/7/2004]. Purchased from Edward Evans-Pritchard for the PRM by Henry Bal
Field Collector:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Purchased 31 December 1930
Collected Date:
1927 - 1930
Tobacco pipe made in several parts, fitted together. The larger part [.1] consists of a long pipe stem, carved from a single piece of wood, stained an orangey brown colour (Pantone 723C), with the mouth end cut at an angle and showing probable signs of wear and burning. This has been hollowed out and expands slightly at the lower end, where it has been slotted into the neck of a gourd body, and fastened by a series of 9 pegs, fitted through holes bored around the gourd edge. This creates a tight join, which has been sealed with a black resin. The body of the stem has been decorated with 6 narrow strips of a flexible white metal, probably tin, with gilding on the surface (Pantone 871C). Each strip has been wound around the body at regular intervals, with the ends of the strips secured by being turned inwards and hammered into the wood. The body has been made from a narrow gourd with reddish orange surface (Pantone 7517C). This has a short bevelled edge at the top, with the row of peg fixtures immediately below, and a short neck that flares out to an ovoid body which tapers in again towards the base. The base has been plugged with a convex wooden disc, with a thick band of black resin over the join, and at the centre of the base. Two circular holes have been cut into the upper face of the body. One is small and blackened, suggesting it has been burnt into the surface. The other is larger and shows no burning.

A separate pipe bowl has been fitted into this larger hole [.2]. This has been made in 2 pieces. The upper piece has been handmade from a pale brown well levigated clay (Pantone 726C), fired with pinkish patches across the surface (Pantone 7515C). This has a slightly oval mouth and narrow bevelled rim edge, sloping down to concave sides. This has been decorated around the bevelled rim with a series of impressed patterns, probably applied using a roulette, and consisting of horizontal hatching framed by a deeper impressed oblique line that probably represents the edge of the tool; semicircular bands of similar hatching extend down the sides in a series of festoons. The base of this part is obscured, as it has been tightly fitted into a second piece that looks to have been newly carved and little used. This is made of a fresh, yellow coloured wood (Pantone 7508C), and has a flat-topped rim then a spool-shaped upper body with a broad projecting collar carved around the centre; semicircular facets have been cut in rows at the top and bottom edges of this for decorative effect. The rest of the body then continues as a narrow cylinder below, with a double bevel-cut end. The whole has been hollowed out, and there is burning in the upper end of the bowl, but not in the more recently added lower part. The object appears to be complete; there is a small crack near the edge of the larger hole in the body, hairline cracks in the top part of the pipe bowl, and a few insect bore holes in the wooden stem. The interior of the gourd smells of tobacco. It has a total weight of 156.5 grams. [.1] has a total length of 654 mm; the pipe stem has a diameter at the top of 16.5 mm, an aperture of 11 by 9 mm, and a base diameter of 41.3 by 40.8 mm, while the tin binding strips are 5 mm wide. The gourd body is around 98.5 mm wide, with openings that measure 7 mm and 21 mm in diameter. [.2] is 138.5 mm long, with a bowl diameter of 36.7 by 35.7 mm and mouth of 25 mm, a maximum diameter of 40.5 mm, and a diameter around the cylindrical peg base of 16.4 mm.

Probably collected by Evans-Pritchard himself during his fieldwork amongst the Zande, which took place during 1927, part of 1928 and 1929 and for several months during 1930. Purchased from Edward Evans-Pritchard for the Pitt Rivers Museum by Henry Balfour on 31 December 1930.

Petherick said of the Zande that 'They were great smokers of tobacco, of their own growth, mixed with the rind of the banana, also indigenous to the country’ (Petherick 1861,
Egypt, The Sudan and Central Africa, p. 466).

Larken also discusses Zande pipes: "Tobacco pipes vary from the big kind three feet in length ... to the more portable one a third of this size. The bowls are well made of pottery... the stem is of hollowed wood, the joint between it and the bowl being sometimes lapped with leather. The mouthpiece is the stone of the akua palm fruit (
Ar. dom ) from which the kernel has been removed and replaced by a mass of fibre obtained by scraping the stalk of a plant. Sometimes tobacco is lacking ... and this packing of fibre is used instead, all soaked as it is in nicotine and saliva... [the Zande word for tobacco] is gbakara or bagbuduma ". He then goes on to talk about smoking baingi, or hemp, which seems to have been made illegal by the authorities in his day. This was smoked using: "a gourd, often ornamented with brass nails or by having rough figures and geometrical designs scratched on it, has a small cut in it less than half an inch in diameter; in this hole is inserted a plug of baked clay pierced, the little orifice being widened at the top to take a pinch of dried baingi leaves. Smoke is drawn through the small end of the gourd into the mouth" (P.M. Larken, 1926, "An Account of the Zande", Sudan Notes and Records IX no. 1, pp 92, 94). This style of gourd sounds similar to the museum's example, except that the latter has been fitted with a long stem.

For a related type of object, using a gourd body with separate wooden pipe bowl, see 1936.10.74, which Evans-Pritchard collected from the Anuak.

Rachael Sparks 17/9/2005.

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. [...] [p. 139, insert] 41 [end insert] - Tobacco pipe with carved wooden bowl, fitted into a gourd to which a long wooden stem is fixed, AZANDE [...] [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.

Detailed Pipes [Unsorted] Card Catalogue entry - Description: Tobacco pipe. Elaborately carved bowl of light coloured wood set into gourd, at one end of gourd is fixed by small wood pegs a large long and straight stem of light wood ornamented with 6 short bindings of thin metal strip. Colour of gourd orange, of stem, yellow. There is a perforation in the gourd near the pipe bowl, the end of the gourd opposite the stem is sealed by wood plug and resin Total length c 65 cm (gourd c 19.5 cm, stem c 45.5 cm) Bowl height from gourd c 6.3 cm outer width of rim 3.6 cm. The pipe bowl seems to have been carved into 2 parts (1) the small bowl proper ornamented with carved designs [Drawing] set into (2) an elaborately carved lower part which ends in a long peg-tube penetrating a hole in the gourd People: Azande Locality: Bahr-el-Ghazal E Cent Africa Collected by: Dr Evans-Pritchard How Acquired: Purch 31.12.1930 [Drawing]

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 10/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, Sudan. Zande tribe. Tobacco pipe with wooden stem and gourd body. Purch. E. E. Evans-Pritchard, 1930.86.41.1-.2 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 8/7/2005].

Written on object - Tobacco-pipe. AZANDE, BAHR-EL-GHAZAL, E. CENT. AFRICA. Evans-Pritchard colln. Pur. 31.12.1930 [RTS 8/7/2005].

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. This item appears as "1 pipe (Mangb[etu])"; this is attributed to the Zande in the accession book entry [RTS 17/5/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
Help | About | Bibliography