Anuak spear-head

Anuak spear-head
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Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Anywaa [Anuak]
Date Made:
By 1936
Iron Metal
Forged (Metal) , Hammered
L = 575 mm, L tang = 150 mm, Max diam tang = 10 mm, W blade shoulders = 43.5 mm, Max th blade = 10 mm, Min th blade = 1.5 mm [RTS 27/7/2004].
404.4 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Presumably collected by Evans-Pritchard during his period of fieldwork amongst the Anuak between early March and May 1935 [RTS 18/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1936
Collected Date:
March - May 1935
Spearhead made from a single piece of iron and now used as bride wealth. This consists of a long round-sectioned tang with pointed end, gradually tapering out towards its junction with the blade; this has two small narrow, rounded shoulders on an elongated body with straight sides, tapering to a rounded tip a the other end. A prominent raised midrib runs down the length of the body on both sides as a continuation of the line of the tang. The spearhead is complete and intact, but the edges are nicked in many places suggesting some form of wear and possibly active use as a spearhead in the past. There is some surface rust and the metal is currently a dark metallic reddish brown colour (Pantone black 7C). It has a weight of 404.4 grams, and is 575 mm long in total, with the tang measuring 150 mm in length. The tang has a maximum diameter of 10 mm; the blade is 43.5 mm wide across the shoulders, 10 mm thick at the midrib and 1.5 mm thick along the edge of the blade.

Collected by E.E. Evans-Pritchard during his fieldwork amongst the Anuak, which took place between early March and May 1935 (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1940, The Political System of the Anuak of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, p. 3).

Evans-Pritchard describes these spears in his book on the Anuak: “In old times spears were rare and treasured heirlooms. These old spears, the two chief types,
joo [jo] and dim [dem] , being tanged, often form part of bride wealth and are worth between 100 and 150 piastres each” (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1940, The Political System of the Anuak of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, p. 56) - which was around £1 at that time. For another jo, see 1936.10.22. For an example of the type known as dem, see 1936.10.9.

This object is currently on display in the Lower Gallery, case 74A.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 410] - 1936 [insert] 10 [end insert] E. EVANS-PRITCHARD, M.A., Exeter College, Oxford. - Specimens collected by himself in the EASTERN SUDAN, while travelling with a Grant from the Rockefeller Leverhulme Trustees, viz: [insert] 21-22 [end insert] - [One of] 2 Jo , ancient, tanged spear-heads of iron, now used as ‘bride wealth’ (value about £1 each), ANUAK.

Card Catalogue Entry - Information repeated from accession book entry. Note that this card had been wrongly annotated with object number 1936.10.9 [should be 1936.10.22], its related negative reference and a length measurement [RTS 30/1/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Jo , ancient, tanged spear-head, now used as 'bride-wealth' (value about £1). ANUAK, E. SUDAN. d.d. E. Evans-Pritchard, 1936 [rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object; RTS 13/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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