Anuak sheath

Anuak sheath
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Anywaa [Anuak]
Date Made:
By 1936
Animal Hide Skin
Perforated , Knotted , Bound , Tooled
Sheath L = 223, W across body = 56, th = 5.5; side strips W = 8; tie L = 360, W = 4.2, th = 2.5 mm [RTS 28/6/2005].
20 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
Hide sheath for protecting the edge of a metal spearhead. It consists of 2 rectangular strips of yellowish brown hide (Pantone 7508C), with traces of buff hair partially preserved on the surface. Each strip has been folded in half, creating a recess on the inside edge that could be fitted around either side of the blade. The upper ends have been gathered together, and their tips bound with a short hide sheath, probably cut from a section of tail; a v-shaped notch has been cut into the top edge on either side. The other ends have been perforated, and a single narrow strip of hide passed through to hold them together, and secured by a knot at one side. This leaves the ends free to be fitted over the blade, with the cord allowing them to be pulled closed again once in place. The surface of this tie strip has been tooled to give it a textured appearance. The sheath is essentially complete; there are some holes in the binding around its tip, while the tie is beginning to split along it width at one end. It has a weight of 20 grams; the sheath body is 223 mm long, 56 mm wide and 5.5 mm thick; each of the side strips is around 8 mm wide, and the tie is 360 mm long, 4.2 mm wide and 2.5 mm thick.

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

This sheath is known to the Anuak as

Rachael Sparks 30/9/2005.

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.

Card Catalogue Entry - Information as in accession book, with inserted comment '[... 3 illegible words] 1 [= 1936.10.23] now placed around ancient jo spear (1936.10.9) also Anuak, EP, l[ength] = 420 mm'. Note that this spear seems to have been numbered 1936.10.9 incorrectly, and is actually 1936.10.22 [RTS 11/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Arana , sheath for protecting the edges of iron spearheads. ANUAK, E. SUDAN. d.d. E. Evans-Pritchard, 1936 [rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object; RTS 24/6/2005].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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