Rumbek Jur purse

Rumbek Jur purse
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] ?Western Bahr el Ghazal ?Warab Kornuk
Cultural Group:
Rumbek Jur
Date Made:
By 1933
Animal Skin , Animal Hide Skin , Glass , String
Plaited , Stitched , Strung
L = 240 mm, L purse = 65 mm, W purse = 66.3 mm, W arm band = 3.4 mm, Th arm band = 4.5 mm, Diam bead = 2.2 mm, Th bead = 1 mm [RTS 7/4/2004].
102.3 g
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife on 25th May 1933 during a shooting expedition
Field Collector:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton & Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Brayton)
PRM Source:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton
Donated 1934
Collected Date:
25th May 1933
Small purse made from a rectangular piece of brown genet skin (Pantone 463C), the ends of which have been folded over and stitched with a narrow hide thong along each side edge to form two simple pockets, open at their top edges. The piece has been hung over a short length of cord, then a row of horizontal stitches sewn immediately below the loop thus created to keep the purse in place. The resultant object is roughly square, and opens to expose the two pockets inside. The thongs used for the stitching have been knotted at each end; those at the base of the purse have been left with long trailing pieces below each knot. The purse has been mounted onto an arm band by the top cord, which is looped over one end of the band and knotted around the other, with two long hide strips left trailing below. The armlet itself is made up of several narrow hide strips, plaited together in a linked herringbone design to form a thick band with a slightly square section. The upper side of this has been decorated with two rows of string, threaded with groups of coloured beads, with the string passing under the hide plaiting at regular intervals, creating a series of lentoid shaped motifs. From left to right, these groups consist of: 12 white, 15 black, 14 red, 17 white, 18 white, 12 white, 13 red, 18 white, 16 white, 22 red and 14 white beads. The beads are slightly mixed, in that there are some very light bluish grey beads (Pantone 7541C) mixed in with the white groups, and the red beads include both opaque and translucent varieties (Pantone 1795C); these details are only noticeable close up. The beads are probably made of glass, as no seams were visible to suggest they were plastic. The plaited hide band has been bent into a loop, to fit over the upper arm, with the string running horizontally across the base between the two ends and the purse hanging from this below. At the base of each end the plaiting stops, and there is a horizontal band with a hide strip wound vertically around it that keeps these ends secure. From this, the hide strips hang down loosely to form two thick tassels made up of 30 strips on one side and 21 on the other. The object appears to be complete. The total length including the arm band is 240 mm, while the purse measures 65 by 66.3 mm, the arm band measures 3.4 by 4.5 mm, and the beads have a diameter of 2.2 mm and are 1 mm thick. It weighs 102.3 grams.

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. They did not record the local name for this type of object.

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] 101 [end insert] - Purse of Genet skin attached to plaited hide armlet, with bead decoration. ib[idem] [KORNUK]. (2517).

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 5217: "Upper armlet, beaded, with genet purse, 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 - Armlet with purse of genet skin, worn on upper arm. JUR, KORNUK, E. SUDAN. 7 53' N, 28 9' E. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934 (2517) [tied to object; RTS 7/4/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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