Bari spear

Bari spear
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Bahr el Jebel Mongalla
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1933
Iron Metal , Wood Plant , Resin Plant
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved , Stained
Total L = 2226; spearhead L = 415, blade L = 223, max W shoulders = 54.3, max th = 5.6; shaft diam = 9, socket base diam = 15.3 x 14.8; shaft diam = 15.8, narrowing to 6 mm at the butt end [RTS 11/7/2005].
415.2 g
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife on 12th February 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:
12th February 1933?
Spear consisting of an iron spearhead with a leaf-shaped blade with a raised rib running down the centre of each side and rounded shoulders that curve in to a solid, round sectioned shank. This opens out at its base to form a socket, with a slightly open seam on one side. The blade is currently a metallic grey colour (Pantone 420C). The socket has been fitted onto a wooden shaft, carved from a tree branch with some surface irregularities and a circular section, tapering in to its butt, and stained an orangey brown colour across the surface (Pantone 7516C). There are also traces of a black coloured resinous material around the socket, presumably used as a fixative to hold the spearhead in place. The spear is complete, with some rust on the blade and a few cracks down the shaft body. It has a weight of 415.2 grams, and a total length of 2226 mm. The spearhead is 415 mm long, of which the blade part is 223 mm in length, with a maximum width of 54.3 mm and thickness of 5.6 mm; the shaft has a diameter of 9 mm, while the socket base measures 15.3 by 14.8 mm across. The shaft is 15.8 mm in diameter, narrowing to 6 mm at its butt.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at the town of Mongalla on 12th February 1933, during a shooting expedition. Powell-Cotton did not record its Bari name.

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 BARI tribe, MONGALLA, PERIDI and NGANGALA. [insert] 38 [end insert] - Spear with iron, leaf-shaped blade socketed to the haft, MONGALLA. (284).

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 12/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - E. SUDAN & TANGANYIKA. E. AFRICA [brown luggage tag, tied to object; content suggests this might have been written to apply to a group of spears, rather than this example in particular]; AFRICA, Sudan, Mongalla. BARI tribe. Spear with sockted iron head. No. 284. d.d. P.H.G. Powell-Cotton, 1934.8.38 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 11/7/2005].

Written on object -
Spear, BARI tribe. MONGALLA, E. SUDAN. 5° 19' N., 31° 49' E. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton1934 (284) [RTS 11/7/2005].

Related Documents File - Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Barri Tribe". This object appears as item 284: "SPEAR". It has been entered by hand, between entries 264 and 295, both of which were collected at Mongalla on 12/2/33. The file 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].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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