Lotuko necklet

Lotuko necklet
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Loronyo
Cultural Group:
Lotuko [Otuho]
Date Made:
By 1933
Animal Hide Skin , Glass , Iron Metal
Hammered , ?Stained , ?Drawn , Strung
L = 113.2 mm, W = 98.5 mm, Diam bead = 16.3 mm, Diam fastening ring = 8.5 mm [RTS 29/4/2004].
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife on 13th 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:
13th April 1933
Necklet made from a narrow strip of dark brown animal hide (Pantone 440C), rectangular in section and slightly concave on its outer face. This has been bent into a roughly circular loop, that is now slightly distorted from its original shape. Each end has been pierced with a small hole, through which a small penannular iron ring has been passed as a fastener. The ring itself is made from an iron rod with round section, bent into a loop with ends almost touching, 1 mm apart. A single bead has been pushed onto the strip, and hangs down from the centre, directly opposite the fastening. The strip has been compressed to allow it to pass through the bead's thread hole, which must have been done when the hide was still pliable; the bead is now firmly fixed in its position. Both sides of the necklet body show traces of a red material, probably ochre (Pantone 174C); this seems to be mixed with small glistening inclusions that may be crushed mica. This is thicker on the outer face, and was probably added deliberately rather than being material that has rubbed off the owner's skin. The bead itself is made of translucent glass, which has a faint bluish tinge until held up to the light, at which point it appears to be more yellow in colour. This has a regularly shaped straight cylindrical thread hole, which, along with some bubbles in the glass matrix, suggest that it was produced by being drawn. The body is a slightly depressed spheroid with convex sides and a medium sized thread hole. The bead is complete and intact, but the surface has been pitted and has some discolouration from adhering dirt. The fastening ring is complete and in good condition, while the hide necklet body is complete but broken near one of its ends. The dark brown colouring may be the result of surface treatment, as the hide is a lighter colour along the broken edge. The ochre coating on the outside face is flaking off in some areas. The necklet measures 98.5 by 113.2 mm on its outside edges, and has an internal width of 92 mm. The hide strip is 7.5 mm wide and 3.5 mm thick; the bead has a diameter of 16.3 mm and a height of 13 mm, and the iron ring has a diameter of 8.5 mm, while the rod from which it has been made is 1 mm thick. The necklet has a total weight of 13.9 grams.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Loronyo on 13th April 1933, during a shooting expedition. They did not record the Lotuko name for this type of object.

For a similar necklet, see 1934.8.71. This is almost identical in style, but the bead was worn next to the fastening, not further around the circuit. A similar bead without accompanying necklace is supposedly Shilluk (1946.8.105), another similar bead strung onto hair cords came from the Dinka (1934.8.22), while further examples were collected by D. Gunn at Omdurman (1903.16.81 and 1903.16.84).

Similar red ochre traces were found on several Bari objects in the collection (brass and iron armlets 1934.8.50-51 and iron torque 1903.2.3), and on a Lotuko iron torque (1934.8.67) and hide necklet (1934.8.70). It is also similar to the 'red paste' in which a number of beads are embedded on Murle bracelet 1884.82.23. Some groups, such as the Zaghawa, mix ochre with crushed mica and use it as a pottery slip; it is possible that in these cases the mica was also a deliberate addition.

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 LATUKA tribe, NAVERA, TORIT, LARONYO. [p. 254, insert] 70-71 [end insert] - [One of] 2 Necklets of hide with one large glass bead on each, ib[idem] [LARONYO] (548 & 554).

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 28/5/2004].

Related Documents File - Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Latuka Tribe". This object appears as item 548: "Bead on leather, opalescent blue/white on leather thong, broken small iron ring [insert] fastener [end insert], 13/4/33 Laronyo, 4.38 N 32.37 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? - 548 [Made of recycled brown card, tied to object, RTS 29/4/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label -
Necklet with opalescent glass bead. LATUKA, LARONYO, E. SUDAN. 4° 38' N.,M 32° 37' E. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934 (548) [rectangular metal-edged label, tied to object, RTS 29/4/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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