Anuak spear-head sheath

Anuak spear-head sheath

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Anywaa [Anuak]
Date Made:
By 1936
Animal Hide Skin , ?Animal Leather Skin , Animal Hair , Animal Tail , ?Brass Metal
Knotted , Hammered , Wound
L = 420 mm
[with blade] 332.3 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
Sheath for protecting the edge of an iron spearhead. This consists of two yellow brown hide or possibly leather strips (Pantone 464C) that have been folded over the cutting edges of the blade. The upper end of each piece has been perforated, and a single narrow strip of hide passed through to secure it. Each of these thongs has been knotted twice along its length, with a plaited area in between; one thong is much longer than the other. A hair tassel made from parts of a reddish brown animal tail (Pantone 469C) has been fitted over each thong in the area between these knots. The upper end of each tassel hangs down from a circular dark brown ring that appears to be the skin from an animal's tail; there appear to be two or three of these strung in place on each thong. At the other end of the sheath, the edging strips are joined at their base by a band of similar material that has been wrapped around the tip, held in place by two thong stitches through the width, and two short lengths of round sectioned brass wire (Pantone 874C) that have been bent around it. The sheath is in fair condition and appears to be complete. Length of sheath 345 mm, diameter of sheath tip 11.8 mm, diameter of brass wire 1.5 mm; width of thong lacing 4.3 mm, diameter of tassel rings 15.5 mm, and length of each tassel 195 and 150 mm.

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). It is called arana by the Anuak . For similar sheaths, see 1936.10.24-25.

This object is currently on display in the Upper Gallery, case 57A.

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: [p. 412] [insert] 23-25 [end insert] - [One of] 3 Sheaths, arana , of hide, for protecting the edges of iron spear-heads. ANUAK.
Additional Accession Book Entry [p. 411] - 1936.10.23 No given AP l[ength] = 420 mm (now with EP 1936.10.9) [Note that this is an error; the sheath is attached to 1936.10.22 which was erroneously numbered 1936.10.9 in the past; RTS 27/7/2004].

Card Catalogue Entry - Information as in accession book, with inserted comment '[... 3 illegible words] 1 now placed around ancient jo spear (1936.10.9) [This is an error for 1936.10.22, see notes] also Anuak, EP, l[ength] = 420 mm' [RTS 11/2/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Arana , sheath for protecting the edges of iron spearheads. ANUAK, E. SUDAN. d.d. E. Evan-Pritchard, 1936 [rectangular metal-edged label, stored in RDF; RTS 16/9/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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