Lotuko back apron

Lotuko back apron
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Navera
Cultural Group:
Lotuko [Otuho]
Date Made:
By 1933
Zebra Skin Animal , Glass , Plant Fibre
Perforated , Twisted , Strung , Knotted , Moulded
L = 967 mm, Ht = 250 mm; body L = 250 mm, W = 95 mm; larger beads diam = 6, th = 4.5 mm; smaller beads diam = 2 to 2.5 mm, th = 1 mm [RTS 2/8/2004].
211.1 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Hannah Brayton Slater) on 8th April 1933 during a shooting expedition.
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:
8th April 1933
Back apron made from a short rectangular piece of zebra hide, the surface of which has brown stripes (Pantone black 4C) on a background of buff coloured hair (Pantone 7506C) with some darker yellow patches (Pantone 7403C). There are two small perforations near the top corners whose function is unknown, and a further two pairs of holes at these corners through which pieces of three-stranded twisted brown plant fibre cord have been passed, leaving two ends of unequal length on each side, onto which have been strung a series of 151 large spherical glass beads to produce ties of double thickness. Near the end of each of these ties one loose end has been knotted onto the body of the other, longer end, which then continues as a single length of unbeaded cord with a terminal knot. These cords serve as ties to fasten the apron around the waist. It is possible that the method of fixing these ties to the apron body has changed, hence the additional holes which currently seem to be without purpose. The beads themselves are made of moulded glass, with spherical bodies and a broad flattened band running around the circumference representing moulding marks. They are of similar dimensions, with colours including opaque white, yellow (Pantone 100C), black and sky blue (Pantone 2975C); there is also a single darker blue bead (Pantone 2995C). These are arranged in mixed groups; the arrangement is not symmetrical and there are differing numbers of beads in each colour block. On one side of the apron, the beaded ties consist of a total of 41 and 40 beads on each string, comprising 17 yellow, 14 sky blue, 1 blue, 16 black and 33 white beads. On the other side, the ties are strung with 37 and 33 beads respectively, comprising 17 yellow, 13 sky blue, 15 black and 25 white beads. A fringe has been sewn onto the bottom edge of the hide piece, made from a series of beaded strings. Each of these is composed of a length of twisted plant fibre that has been sewn through the hide body with a single stitch, leaving two ends of the same length hanging down as a tassel. These hanging ends have then been strung with a series of small glass ring beads, and secured at the bases with knots. There is an additional group of three of these tassels (making a total of 6 hanging lengths) sewn as an additional row just above the bottom fringe near the right hand side of the hide body. The beads are predominantly white, mixed with some very pale bluish white examples, some translucent cobalt blue beads (Pantone 281C), 4 white beads with blue stripes, a few translucent red beads and a single opaque red bead (Pantone 1777C). There is also one short cylindrical white bead. Each strand has approximately 100 beads on it; however at least two strands have lost their bottom knots and are clearly missing some beads. One further white bead is only half complete. Otherwise the apron is in good condition. The apron weighs 211.1 grams and has a length of 967 mm, with the ties extended, and a height of 250 mm, including the fringe, while the hide body is 250 mm long and 95 mm wide. The larger glass beads have diameters of 6 mm and are 4.5 mm high; the smaller ring beads on the fringe have diameters of between 2 to 2.5 mm and are 1 mm thick.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Navera on 8th April 1933, during a shooting expedition.

This type of apron was worn over the buttocks, and is known as
letigo. Some of the glass beads used in its decoration appear on other Lotuko objects; for example, those with broad moulded ribs around the centre appear in a similar range of colours on objects 1934.8.76 (an arm tassel) and 1934.8.66 (a necklet or arm ornament).

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. 252] - From the LATUKA tribe, NAVERA, TORIT, LARONYO. [p. 254, insert] 62 [end insert] - Apron, letigo , of zebra skin, fringed with bead strings & with bead girdle, worn over the buttocks, ib[idem] [NAVERA] (495).

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 26/5/2004].

Related Documents File - Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Tribe Latuka". This object appears as item 495: "Square Zebra skin back apron, with white & some blue beads fringe, black, light blue white & yellow large bead sling, native name Letigo , 8/4/33 Navera, about 4.30 N 32.30 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 - Letigo , apron worn behind, hanging from waist. LATUKA, NAVERA, E. SUDAN. 4 30' N., 32 30' E., d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934 (495) [rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object RTS 2/8/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
Help | About | Bibliography