Baka trumpet

Baka trumpet
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Western Equatoria Maridi District
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1930
Animal Horn , Antelope Horn Animal
Carved , Hollowed , Perforated
L = 287, diam proximal end = 9, diam finger-hole = 6; embouchure diam = 29 by 15 mm; bell mouth external diam = 41.7 by 40.5, internal diam = 40 mm. L fingerhole to embouchure edge = 42 mm [RTS 3/12/2004].
56.1 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:
Small side-blown trumpet, carved from a single piece of animal horn and then hollowed out. The body follows the natural curvature of the horn, with ribbing that becomes more marked as it widens. It has a narrow proximal end with round section, that has been cut off just before the tip of the horn to form a finger-hole, with a shallow groove around the circumference just below, then a body that tapers out towards a wider bell mouth with more oval section; both are equally thin walled. An large oval embouchure has been cut into the upper, concave surface. The surface is a dark brownish black colour (Pantone black 7C), largely opaque, but becoming slightly translucent towards its broader end where the material has a more reddish tinge. It is complete and intact, with a weight of 56.1 grams and a length of 287 mm. The proximal end has a diameter of 9 mm, and a finger-hole 6 mm in diameter; the embouchure has a diameter measuring 29 by 15 mm across, and the bell mouth of the instrument is 41.7 mm long and 40.5 mm wide, with an internal diameter of 40 mm. The length from finger-hole to the edge of the embouchure is 42 mm .

Collected by E.E. Evans-Pritchard in the period between 1926 and 1930, while conducting fieldwork in the Southern Sudan.
It came from the district of Meridi, which is located in the modern administrative district of Western Equatoria.

The horn used for this object is said to be from the Waterbuck. The Baka referred to by Evans-Pritchard are the Central Sudanic group, not the Baka Pygmies of Congo and elsewhere. They are linguistically related to the Bongo and Moru Kodo, and inhabit areas of the Meridi and Yei districts (L.F. Nalder ed., 1937,
A Tribal Survey of Mongalla Province, p. 185-6).

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

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. 139a, insert] 59 [end insert] - Small side-blast trumpet of (?) Waterbuck's horn, same data [BAKA tribe, MERIDI district]. [...] [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. [p. 139a] - 1930.86.59 Number given HLR. L[ength] = 29.5 cms.

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. 1930.86.59 appears on the list as "1 trumpet (Baka)". This letter also mentions rejecting a number of items; these may relate to an undated list in the file of 48 objects, which do not seem to match accessioned material.
RDF 1930.86 also contains a letter from Evans-Pritchard to Mr. Malcolm dated 12 December 1930, offering him some 81 Zande and Nuer objects. As Malcolm was curator of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, it seems unlikely that these objects were ever sent to the Pitt Rivers Museum and this letter is only useful as background for Evans-Pritchard's attritudes to the intended future use of his material, and as evidence for the temporary storage of these objects in Professor Seligman's office in the London School of Economics at the time [RTS 18/8/2005].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Side-blast trumpet, BAKA tribe, MERIDI dist., E. CENT. AFRICA. Evans-Pritchard coll n . Pur. 31.12.1930 [paper label stuck to side of object; RTS 3/12/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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