Jur Luo spear & sheath

Jur Luo spear & sheath
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1939.7.107 .1 .2
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Torit Lafon
Cultural Group:
Jur Luo
Date Made:
By 1939
Iron Metal , Wood Plant , Animal Hide Skin
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved Stained , Polished Perforated , Bound Wound
[.1] Total L = 1757, spear-head L = 490; shank diam = 8; socket diam = 15.5; diam upper shaft = 14 mm, spear butt L = 278, socket diam = 13.5, base diam = 6.3 mm. [.2] L = 327 mm, W = 64, th = 9.5; wire L = 38 mm [RTS 18/7/2005].
[.1 and .2] 459.0 g
Other Owners:
Armine Charles Almroth Wright
Field Collector:
?Armine Charles Almroth Wright
PRM Source:
Armine Charles Almroth Wright
Donated July 1939
Collected Date:
By 1939
Spear [.1] consisting of an iron head with large leaf-shaped blade, and 2 convex barbs at its base; this has a raised ridge running down the centre of both sides. At its base, it joins with a solid shank, roughly circular in plan view, with a further 2 barbs on either side - one curving down, and the other curving upwards. At its base, the shank opens up to form a cylindrical socket with a slightly open seam running up the front. This has been fitted over the top of a wooden shaft with circular section, the surface of which has been stained a dark reddish brown (Pantone 4695C) and then polished. It tapers to its base, which has been fitted with a long iron spear butt with socketed top and a slightly open seam running down near one side. This tapers to a solid round sectioned body that ends in a flat base. The iron elements are a metallic grey colour (Pantone 877C). The spear is complete and intact. The spear has a total length of 1757 mm, with the spear-head having a length of 490 mm. The exact dimensions of the blade are obscured in part by the sheath, but its shank has a diameter of 8 mm and the socket a diameter of 15.5 mm. The shaft has an upper diameter of 14 mm, while the spear butt is 278 mm long, with a socket diameter of 13.5 mm and a base diameter of 6.3 mm.

A hide sheath [.2] has been fitted around the edges of the spear-head, covering not only the blade but also its barbs. It is made of 2 rectangular strips of yellowish brown hide (Pantone 729C), with surfaces cleaned of all hair. Each of these strips has been folded in half, creating a recess on its inside edge that fits around the sides of the blade. The upper ends have been brought together, and their tips bound with a length of iron wire pushed through a hole in the edges of one, wrapped several times around the body, and bent down into the centre of the top. The lower ends of these strips have been perforated, and 2 narrow hide thongs passed through to hold them together, then secured with a knot. The sheath is complete, with a length of 327 mm, width (as fitted) of 64 mm and thickness of 9.5 mm; the wire binding covers an area 38 mm long. Spear and sheath have a combined weight of 459 grams.

This object was obtained by Armine Charles Almroth Wright at Lafon Hill, in the Torit district, and donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum in July 1939.

For similar spear sheaths, see 1936.10.9, 1936.10.24-25, all collected by Evans-Pritchard from the Anuak. 1939.7.109 is a related style of Acholi sheath, bearing similar iron binding around its pointed end.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 244] - A.C.A. WRIGHT , ESQ., ... Granville Park, S.E.13. [p. 266, at top of column] July [next to entry] 1939.7.106/107 [double pencil tick after number] - [1 of] Pair of barbed spears from LAFON hill, LUO people, TORIT district, SOUTHERN SUDAN.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card for this object; another card at the head of this section states 'LUO-SPEAKING PEOPLE, LAFON HILL, S. SUDAN. These are a special group & are different from other branches of Luo-speaking people (q.v. under JA LUO) [RTS 1/6/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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