Rumbek Jur necklet

Rumbek Jur necklet
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan?] ?El Buheyrat ?Warab Luklun
Cultural Group:
Rumbek Jur
Date Made:
By 1933
Animal Hide Skin , Wood Plant , Paste Glass , Synthetic
Twisted , Moulded , Perforated , Strung
L = 675 mm when extended; diam cord = 2 mm, diam cord strand = 0.5 mm; L wooden bead = 10 mm; diam yellow cylindrical beads = 5.3 mm, L = 5 mm; diam spherical beads = 5.9 mm; diam black and white cylindrical beads = 3.8 mm; diam tiny disc beads = 1.9 mm
83.9 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife on 13th 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:
13th May 1933
Necklet made from 7 hide strands twisted together to form a cord; this is knotted at one end, but beginning to unravel at the other. A short length is left at either end of the necklet to act as ties; the cord is then knotted below this, and the rest of the necklet has been strung rather symmetrically with a variety of short pieces of aromatic wood and coloured glass beads. At the centre of this design is a group of 7 beads - 3 yellow short cylindrical examples (Pantone 100C) with a pair of spherical red beads spaced between (Pantone 179C). A long tassel hangs down from the middle of this group, secured at the top with a piece of what may be imported string. This tassel is decorated with 3 similar yellow beads at the top before dividing into 2 sections, each with 2 spherical red beads in place before splitting into a further 2 parts, one with 4 tassels and the other with 3. Each of these string tassels is decorated with a group of alternating red (Pantone 186C) and black (Pantone black 6C) tiny disc beads, solid white beads, alternating black and yellow disc beads (Pantone 127C), more white, and then alternating red and black beads followed by 1 red cylindrical and 1 small red disc bead at the base, secured with a small knot below.

The rest of the necklet is decorated with sections of wooden beads, separated with glass examples and 2 shorter beaded tassels. These follow the following design. On either side of the central tassel, the main cord divides into some of its component strands - 3 on one side, 4 on the other. Each of these strands has been strung with alternating 3 white and 2 black short cylindrical glass beads, after which point they further subdivide into 7 individual lengths, onto which have been threaded from between 6 to 10 short irregularly cylindrical pieces of of scented wood, pierced through their widths and thus strung sideways. The strands then link up again on the other side to form 4 and 7 beaded strings respectively that repeat the black and white patterning. On the other side of each of these there is a group of 2 yellow cylindrical beads with two large spherical red beads between, with a beaded tassel hanging down from its centre. These are similar to the longer tassel, but have more strings (12), and the combination of small disc bead colours is slightly different - alternate red and black beads; white beads; red beads; alternate yellow and black beads; then a larger black cylinder bead with the string knotted off at the base. Beyond these tassels, there is another group of multi stranded wooden and glass beads, before all the individual strands rejoin to form a single cord, threaded with one last group of the large yellow and red beads then ending in a knot, beyond which the cord continues as a plain length that would be suitable for tying the necklet in place. Although the design is very regular, there is the occasional flaw - a bead of a certain form missing, slightly different numbers of beads on the various sections of the tassels and so on.

It is not clear how the cylindrical or tiny disc beads were manufactured, but the spherical red beads have a characteristic flat raised band around their circumferences that looks like a mould line; as these seem to be glass, not plastic, they may have been made using the process known as 'prosser-moulding'. The necklet is complete, with a weight of 83.9 grams and a length of 675 mm. The cord has a diameter of 2 mm, while a single component strand has a diameter of 0.5 mm. A typical wooden bead is 10 mm long; the large yellow beads have diameters of 5.3 mm and lengths of 5 mm; the large spherical red beads have a diameter of 5.9 mm; the black and white cylindrical beads have diameters of 3.8 mm, and the small disc beads are 1.9 mm in diameter and 1.5 mm thick.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Luklun on 13th May 1933, during a shooting expedition. The location of Luklun suggests that the cultural group involved are the Rumbek Jur.

The wood is described as aromatic, and the beads as trade beads; they are known by the Jur as
alungen. Similar moulded glass beads, of slightly different colour, appear on 1940.7.049 (from the North Ugandan Labwor) and 1934.8.76 (Lotuko). This type of bead also appears in Arkell's collection of trade bead sample cards (see 1971.15.195, 1971.15.196 and 1971.15.257; the cards were purchased in Omdurman and El Fasher, and the beads shown on them were made in Jablonec nad Nisou in the Czech Republic. These beads are probably made of glass paste, not plastic, using the process known as 'prosser-moulding', a technique that moulds a milk-paste under high pressure then fires it, giving the appearance of glass or porcelain, but actually being a synthetic material. These types of beads were made in France, Germany and the Czech Republic (see Picard, R and J. 1995. 'Prosser Beads: The French Connection', Ornament 19.2, pp 68-71

This object is currently on display in the Lower Gallery, case 50B number 2.

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] 104 [end insert] - Alungen , necklet made from clusters of small pieces of aromatic wood & trade beads, LUKLUN (2443).
Additional Accession Book Entry [p. 257] - 1934.8.104 Numbered JP.

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 2443: "Necklace, aramatic [sic] wood beads and beads, native name Alungen , 13/5/33 Luklun, 8.11 N 28 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].

Pre-PRM label - 2443 D [tied to object, RTS 10/8/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label
- Alungen , necklet of aromatic wood & beads. JUR, LUKLUN, E. SUDAN. 8 o 11' N, 28 o E. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934. (2443) [rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object; RTS 10/8/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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