Nuer axe

Nuer axe
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Wahda near Lake No
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By November 1923
Wood Plant , Iron Metal , Copper Metal
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved , Stained ? , Wound Decorated Incised
Total L = 1048 mm; handle diam = 17.8, butt diam = 21 mm; axehead L = 170, W = 55, th = 2 mm; socket diam = 30 mm [RTS 21/9/2004].
607.7 g
Other Owners:
Collected by W. Sherlock Lennon on 17th February 1923 [misread as 17th November 1923 when making the accession book entry], donated to the PRM by his sisters Kathleen Constance Averina Knowles and Mrs Cameron in August 1946 [RTS 26/8/2005].
Field Collector:
W. Sherlock Lennon
PRM Source:
Kathleen Constance Averina Knowles & Mrs Cameron
Donated August 1946
Collected Date:
17 February 1923
Axe consisting of a wooden handle, carved in a single piece with rounded top and base; this may have been stained a dark purplish brown (Pantone black 5C). An iron axehead has been hafted onto the upper shaft. This is made from a rectangular bar, folded over with the back opened up to form a circular socket with concave sides, and the metal hammered flat to form the blade at the front. This blade curves up and then down, with the blade hammered flat and splaying out to a curved cutting edge. The front and back have been decorated with an incised design, consisting of two bands of cross hatching running along the length near the socket, a single zigzag, then a short vertical crosshatched band with a similar band at right angles. The upper part of the shaft, directly beneath the axehead and below, has been bound with a rectangular strips in iron, copper (Pantone 876C), and iron (Pantone 420C). The butt of the axe has a thicker iron band wrapped around three quarters of the shaft, with its ends turned inwards and hammered into the wood to secure them. The axe is complete, with some surface corrosion on the iron elements. It has a weight of 607.7 grams. The handle is 1048 mm long, 17.8 mm in diameter, while the butt has a diameter of 21 mm. The axehead is 170 mm long, 55 mm wide and 2 mm thick at the blade end, and 30 mm wide at the socket.

Collected by W. Sherlock Lennon on 17th February 1923, near Lake No, and donated to the PRM by his sisters Kathleen Constance Averina Knowles and Mrs Cameron in August 1946.

For similar axes, see 1946.8.91-92 and 94, all Nuer and collected by Lennon at the same time.

This object is currently on display in the Lower Gallery, case 60A.

Rachael Sparks 30/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 143] - LADY KNOWLES, 3 BRADMORE ROAD, OXFORD & MRS. CAMERON. Specimens collected by their brother, CAPT MAJOR W.S. LENNON, from the NUER TRIBE, SUDAN, 1923. Labelled by G. R. CARLINE. Coll. 17 Nov. 1923. [p. 144] 1946.8.93 - Axe. iron blade [Drawing]-shaped blade. decorated with incised bands of crossed lines. Wooden shaft bound for 15" from blade with iron & copper bands, 1" band at butt end. Length 3' 5 1/2", blade c. 5", max. width 2 1/4". Same data [WHITE NILE, near LAKE NO].
Additional Accession Book Entry [page facing 143] - Major W. S. Lennon was District Commissioner in the Sudan.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 23/7/2004].

Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - NUER TRIBE, WHITE NILE near L[AKE] NO. Coll. by Major W.S. Lennon, 17 Nov. 1923. d.d. Lady Knowles and Mrs Cameron, 1946.8.93 [rectangular metal-edged tag, tied to object; RTS 21/9/2004].

Written on object - NUER, near L[AKE]. NO, WHITE NILE. Coll. by Major W.S. Lennon, 17.2.1[9]23. d.d. Lady Knowles & Mrs Cameron [RTS 21/9/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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