Lokoya hat

Lokoya hat
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] [?Mongalla Province] Bahr el Jebel ?Mongalla
Cultural Group:
Lokoya ?Lotuko [Otuho]
Date Made:
By 1933
Grass Fibre Plant , Animal Hide Skin , Bird Feather , Bird Skin , String
Basketry , Coiled , Stitched , Perforated , Decorated
Ht = 135, apex diam = 21, hole diam = 5, base L = 212, W = 172, internal L = 200; W strap = 8, W decorative hide strips = 7 to 8; L feather tassel = 100 mm [RTS 7/2/2005].
184 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife on 22nd January 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:
22nd January 1933
Basketry cap consisting of a conical body with a rounded apex made as a separate piece. This has been left open at its centre, perhaps to provide a mount for plumes; the two parts have been sewn together with a thin length of twisted fibre string around their edges. Both apex piece and body have been made from coiled basketry, with a core of grass or fibre strips, bent into a continuous spiral, and fastened together by wrapping flat strips of grass or palm fibre around the body to link adjacent coils; these may have originally been orangey brown in colour, but have become discoloured to a darker brown (Pantone 7519C). The hat has a slightly undulating profile. It has been decorated with a series of narrow hide strips, most of which have a surface covering of short buff hairs (Pantone 7506C). These have been threaded through perforations in the body of the hat, to create a running zigzag around its lower part made from three parallel strips. Two further strips were threaded in a horizontal band below, just above the hat brim. The ends of 2 of these continue through the wall of the hat, and are knotted together inside, to form a chin or neck strap. A short piece of bird skin, with some grey to white downy feathers attached (Pantone 7527C), was fastened to the outside edge of this strap, to hang down as a tassel. The hat is nearly complete, but in poor condition, and has been mended and partially restored. Part of the upper body is missing, and the lower body is damaged where the decorative strips passed through it; the fibre core is also exposed in several places where the palm binding has broken. There are holes through the walls of the upper body that suggest there this area probably once carried a second band of decorative hide strips; some of the strips surviving below this have broken and are incomplete. The inside edge of the hat brim is stained a darker colour than the exterior, possibly through use. The hat has a weight of 184 grams, and is 135 mm high. The apex measures 21 mm across, with a hole through it that is 5 mm in diameter, while the lower hat brim is 212 mm long and 172 mm wide, with an internal length of 200 mm. The chin strap is 8 mm wide, the decorative hide strips are around 7 to 8 mm wide, and the feathered tassel is 100 mm long.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Mongalla on 22nd January 1933, during a shooting expedition.

This hat was described by the collector as being ‘very old’; it was known as
lokulu. It came from a group known as t he Lokoya, or Lokoiya, are also mentioned by the Seligmans with reference to 1922.25.8-10, who say of them in a letter to Henry Balfour on 16th July 1922: "... Lokoiya might I suppose be spelt Lokoia but there did seem to be a "y" sound in it. The tribe is the most north westerly of the Latuka-speaking group & begins to straddle the main track running from Mongalla (on Nile) to Torit some 40 miles from Mongalla". The Lokoya language is listed in Ethnologue as a language found in the Torit district of Eastern Equatoria, which has a 64% lexical similarity with Otuho, and containing the ethnic groups Irya and Owe (see http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=LKY). For further discussion of the Lokoya, see G.W.B. Huntingford, 1953, The Northern Nilo-Hamites, p. 75-78, and C.G. Seligman, Pagan Tribes, pp 340-345.

Rachael Sparks 24/9/2005.

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. 252] - From the LOKOYA tribe, MONGALLA. [insert] 37 [end insert] - Very old hat, lokulu , of coiled basketry, with hide mountings (38).

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 1/6/2004].

Related Documents File - Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Lokoya Tribe". This object appears as item 38: "Hat, very old coiled grass, bowl shaped, laced hide & feathers, native name Lokulu , 22/1/33 Mongalla, 5.42 N 31.53 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 - D 38 [pencil, on reused brown card; tied to object. This is an original Powell-Cotton tag; RTS 7/2/2005].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label -
(38) Lokulu , hat, LOKOYA tribe, MONGALLA, E. SUDAN. 5° 42' N., 31° 53' E. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934 [rectangular tag, that appears to have lost its metal edging; tied to object, RTS 7/2/2005].

Other label -
UNIVERISTY OF LONDON INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY. LAB. No. 5661. OWNER: PITT RIVERS MUSEUM. OWNER'S No. [no data]. DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION [brown label, added to object when it was sent to University College London for conservation by Jennifer Dawson in 1988; tied to object].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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