Bari neck ornament

Bari neck ornament
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1940.7.016 .1 .2
[Southern Sudan] Bahr el Jebel Terakeka
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1940
Animal Leather Skin , Animal Hide Skin , Iron Metal , Brass Metal , Cowrie Shell , Bead
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Twisted , Bent , Perforated , Stitched
Max L [total] = 406 mm Maw W [torque external] = 179 Max Diam [torque internal] = 165 by 141 mm Max W [rod] = 7 mm Max Th = 6.3 mm Max L [leather strap] = 215 mm Max W [leather strap] = 26 mm Max Th [leather strap] = 3.3 mm Max Diam [hole] = 4 mm
170.2 g
Other Owners:
Samuel P. Powell
Field Collector:
Samuel P. Powell
PRM Source:
Samuel P. Powell
Loaned July 1940
Collected Date:
By 1940
Neck ornament consisting of an iron torque [.1] with a beaded leather pendant attached [.2]. The torque has been made from a iron rod, round in section, whose body has been twisted to form a spiral, creating a very shallow groove around the length. The ends were hammered flat, and bent back on themselves to form small loops, one of which has not been fully closed, before the rod was bent into a large oval loop with the ends left 48 mm apart. It is a metallic gray colour (Pantone 877C), and complete in itself, with traces of red ochre caught in the grooves and underneath the looped ends. A long leather strap has been attached to this, by bending the top part over the iron body and sewing it down using a hide cord. The strap is rectangular, and tapers slightly to its lower end; it is a dark reddish brown colour (Pantone 4695C). The outer face has been covered with white cowrie shell beads, each with their backs removed and sewn in place using further hide cord, with their lips facing outwards. These have been arranged as a single horizontal shell across the width of the strap, 45 mm from its top edge, then with 2 rows of vertical cowries running down below. The lower edge of the strap has been pierced, and an oval brass loop fitted through it, with its ends just touching. This is used to suspend a crescentic pendant that is tied on with a hide loop. The pendant is made from sheet brass, hammered to shape, with a faint ridge running along the centre of the upper face; it is pierced through the top, while the body tapers to its tips, which point down and almost touch at the base. This is a metallic yellow colour (Pantone 871C); the motif may reflect Arab influence. This part of the necklet is complete, but one cowrie shell has a hole in its body, and the hide surface is cracking in places. The inner face of the strap has traces of red ochre over its surface, which seems to have some mica inclusions (Pantone 478C). The object has a total weight of 170.2 grams and a total length of 406 mm. The iron torque has an external width of 179 mm, and an internal diameter of 165 by 141 mm; the rod from which it has been made is 7 mm wide and 6.3 mm thick. The leather strap is 215 mm long, 26 mm wide and 3.3 mm thick, while the hole through its base has a diameter of 4 mm. The cowrie shells vary slightly in size, with smaller examples near the upper part; a typical example is 20 mm long and 15 mm wide, and the brass pendant is 44 mm long, with a maximum width of 37.3 mm and a thickness of 1 mm.

This object was collected by Samuel P. Powell at Terakeka, and loaned to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1940. It was worn as a neck ornament by women. The torque body was probably probably made in a similar way to Bari leg ornaments - where an iron rod was pulled out and twisted along its length, the ends hammered back and the whole bent into a loop - see 1940.7.20-21 for unfinished examples.

Rachael Sparks 14/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [Loans II, p. 308] - ESTATE OF S.P. POWELL, C/O N.H. HASLAM, Esq. Manager, Westminster Bank, Stony Stratford, Bucks. Collected by himself. Data from his labels and notes. From the BARI TRIBE, EQUATORIAL PROVINCE, ANGLO-EGYPTIAN SUDAN. 1940.7.016 - Iron neck ornament with strap decorated with cowr ie y shells and brass pendant. TER R EKKA. S. SUDAN.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 12/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S. SUDAN. TEREKKA [sic] BARI TRIBE. Woman's neck ornament. S.P. Powell coll. Lent by his executors [circular metal edged tag, tied to object; RTS 28/2/2005].

Related Documents File - Appears on undated typed list: "Bari Collection from the Equatorial Province, Sudan ... A neck ornament of iron, with a cowrie shell strap". List is annotated by hand on back: "List of Curios" and "Far from complete" [RTS 16/12/2003].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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