Rumbek Jur tobacco pipe

Rumbek Jur tobacco pipe
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] ?Western Bahr el Ghazal ?Warab Kornuk
Cultural Group:
Rumbek Jur
Date Made:
By May 1933
Wood Plant , Pottery
Carved , Modelled , Fire-Hardened , Decorated , Incised
Max total L = 128, wooden stem W = 6.5, th = 6, hole = 3 mm; pottery bowl L = 55.5, Ht bowl = 37.5, diam mouth = 18, th walls = 2, diam base rest = 9 mm [RTS 19/10/2004].
22 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Hannah Brayton Slater) on 25th May 1933 during a shooting expedition [RTS 19/10/2004].
Field Collector:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton & Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Hannah Brayton Slater)
PRM Source:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton
Donated 1934
Collected Date:
25th May 1933
Small tobacco pipe made in two parts. The stem has been made from a piece of soft, lightweight yellow wood (Pantone 7506C), with the centre hollowed out. The wood has some flaws in it and has split near the top. The lower part has been fitted into the rim of a pottery bowl; this seems to be jammed in tight and could not be removed. The bowl has been hand made from a well levigated clay with tiny mica inclusions, fired dark brown to black inside and out (Pantone black 7C). This consists of a cylindrical upper socket, the rim of which has been flattened, swelling out slightly to its base where it links into the pipe bowl at an acute angle, with a circular disc base below. The bowl has slightly convex sides that curve in to the flattened rim. The surface has been decorated with a series of linear motifs incised into the clay; the top part has been divided by three groups of vertical parallel lines, and the areas between filed with columns made up of a central lozenge, with triangles continuing the pattern above and below. These are all composed of double lines, with further embellishment of some of the blank areas left outside these forms by chevrons and additional parallel lines, applied somewhat randomly. The bowl is decorated with an incised line just below the rim, then 4 pairs of vertical parallel lines spaced around the circumference, with a group of triple vertical lines at the centre. This produces a series of vertical spaces, that are filled with columns of stacked lozenges, made of single and double lines. The side of the bowl facing the stem has a single ^-shaped chevron incised into the clay. The surface appears to have been burnished over this decoration The pipe is almost complete, but it would seem that the pottery bowl has broken and been mended and restored, leaving a small chip missing from the rim. It has a weight of 22 grams, and a total length of 128 mm. The wooden stem is 6.5 by 6 mm wide, with a hole 3 mm across through the centre; the pottery section is 55.5 mm long, with a height of the bowl being 37.5 mm; this has a mouth opening of 18 mm diameter, with walls that are 2 mm thick; the base rest is 9 mm in diameter.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Kornuk on 25th May 1933, during a shooting expedition. The location of Kornuk suggests that the cultural group involved are the Rumbek Jur.

This type of object is known by the Jur as
dertaba. It appears to have mica mixed in with the clay of the pipe bowl, a common feature of Sudanese clays. Schweinfurth noted this was the case for Bongo pottery, which he suggested made their wares very brittle; he believed this mix to be naturally occurring and that the Bongo potters did not know how to remove it from their fabrics (G. Schweinfurth, 1873, In the Heart of Africa Volume I, p. 292). However the decorative qualities of the mica could also have been deemed attractive, and retained on those grounds.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 248] 1934 [insert] 8 [end insert] - MAJOR P. H. G. POWELL-COTTON , Quex Park, Birchington, E. Kent. Specimens collected by himself & Mrs Cotton, during hunting trips, 1933, viz: [...] [p. 258] - From the JUR tribe, LUKLUN and KORNUK. [...] [insert] 100 [end insert] - Tobacco-pipe, dertaba , with engraved pottery bowl, KORNUK (2715).

Detailed Pipes [Unsorted] Card Catalogue entry - Number: (2715) Description: Tobacco pipe. Made of pottery, black in colour, with short straight stem of plain wood, slender and light in colour. The bowl has a small round and flat projection at the base, bowl and stem piece are ornamented with incised geometric designs. Total length 12.8 cm (bowl and stem piece 5.5 cm wood stem 7.3 cm) Bowl height c 3.8 cm outer width at top 1.8 cm People: Jur Locality: Kornuk E. Sudan 7˚53'N 28˚9'E Native name: Dertaba Collected by: Major Powell-Cotton How acquired: dd Major Powell-Cotton 1934 [Drawing].

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 27/4/2004].

Related Documents File
- Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Jur Tribe". This object appears as item 2715: "Clay pipe, 1 bowl, native name Dertaba , 25/5/33 Kornuk, 7.53 N 28.9 E”. Also contains details of a cine film 'some tribes of the Southern Sudan', taken by Powell-Cotton during this 1933 expedition, copies of which are now in the National Film and Television Archive and the Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent [RTS 14/3/2005].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - dertaba , pipe, JUR, KORNUK, E. SUDAN. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934/ 7 ° 53' N., 28° 9' E (2715) [tag, tied to object; RTS 19/10/2004].

Written on object -
2715 [pencil on stem] 2715 [pencil, on bowl; RTS 19/10/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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