Acholi neck ornament

Acholi neck ornament
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
Uganda? , Sudan?
[Southern Sudan?] Panikware?
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1st June 1912
Iron Metal , Brass Metal , Plant Fibre , Animal Hide Skin , Bead
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Bent , Perforated , Woven , Tied
Ht = 102 mm; upper ring = 117.2 x 123.5, diam rod = 4.8; lower ring = 152.5 x 144; hide strip W = 19.7, W at fold = 6; bead diam = 9, th = 2 mm [RTS 22/7/2005].
848.1 g
Other Owners:
Part of the collection of Frederick John Jackson, then becoming part of the Ipswich Museum collections, before being sold to the PRM in 1966 [RTS 30/6/2005].
Field Collector:
?Frederick John Jackson
PRM Source:
Ipswich Museum per Patricia M. Butler
Purchased 1966
Collected Date:
1st June 1912
Neck ornament made from a series of 24 iron rings, stacked one on top of the other to form a hollow cylinder that increases in diameter at its base. Each ring has been made from an iron rod with circular section, bent into a loop. Several of these appear to be notched on their inside face; a similar technique is found on multiple arm ornaments such as 1966.1.517. The ends of each ring are not visible, as they are obscured by a rectangular strip of hide that has been used to hold the rings together on one side and provide a supporting rib for the group as a whole. This is a dark grayish brown colour (Pantone Black 4C). This strip has been folded down its length, to create a piece of double thickness, and perforated through the fold. The rings were then fitted through these holes, then the lower part of the strip flattened out against the inside face of the rings, to create a broad band that would rest against the back of the neck. The folded outer face of this strip projects out from the necklet as a rounded rib; this has been covered with a row of metal disc beads, arranged in groups of 22 iron, 3 brass and then 9 iron examples. The neck rings are also secured by 2 separate rows of orangey brown fibre binding down the front face of the object, fastened at top and bottom with simple knots (Pantone 731C). The object is complete, but the iron rings have rusted to a grayish brown colour (Pantone Black 4C), while the fibre is fraying in places, and has come undone at the top of one of the rows. The brass beads are a metallic yellow colour (Pantone 871C). It has a weight of 848.1 grams and a height of 102 mm. The upper ring has a diameter of 117.2 by 123.5 mm, while the rod from which it has been made has a diameter of 4.8 mm. The lowest ring measures 152.5 by 144 mm. The hide strip is 19.7 mm wide, on its inside edge, and 6 mm wide where it has been folded; the beads have a typical diameter of 9 mm and width of 2 mm.

This object was originally part of the collection of Frederick John Jackson, and acquired by him on the first of June 1912, while serving as Governor of Uganda. It subsequently became part of the Ipswich Museum, who recorded it as belonging to the 'Panikwar collection', before being sold to the PRM in 1966. This, and other material from Panikwar is identified as part of the Jackson collection on the basis of markings on some of the Ipswich objects that associate the two. Panikwar is thought to refer to a place, rather than a person; C.G. Seligman, for example, records visiting 'the Panikware resthouse' in what is now the district of Eastern Equatoria, around 12 miles from the Acholi village of Magwe in 1922. However the tendency for the same name to be used for different places within a region has been noticed in this part of Sudan may mean that Jackson's Panikware was not the same as that visited by the Seligmans. Information on the Seligman's research itinerary may be found in the unpublished diaries of C.G. and B.Z. Seligman at the Archives of the London School of Economics (Seligman manuscripts, files 1/4/1 and 1/4/6; thanks to Fran Larsen for this information).

Several Nilotic groups wear 'medium weight' iron rings around their necks, including the Acholi and Lango of Uganda (see for example J.H. Driberg, 1923,
The Lango, plates opposite p. 60 and p. 64, worn by both men and women). Some wear large numbers of these at one time, and the Karamoja in particular are said to wear a group fastened with a strip of leather, that is similar to the type seen here (see Trowell, M. & Wachsmann, K.P., 1953, The Tribal Crafts of Uganda, 213-4 and pl. 52I). Jackson also acquired several similar iron rings at the same time as this object; these were worn as groups around the arms, or possibly legs (see 1966.1.517-18; the latter has bark fibre binding similar to that seen on this neck group). Several of these rings were also notched on their interior walls.

Rachael Sparks 4/8/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [XX] [facing p. 1] - Collection 1966.1 is Ipswich ethnography; see special volumes XVA and XVB [JC 27/6/2001].

Accession Book Entry [Ipswich ethnography XVA] [p. 2] 1966.1[1-] P[urchased] Ethnological Collection; IPSWICH MUSEUM per Miss PATRICIA M. BUTLER, M.A. F.M.A. Curator. [P. 184] 1966.1.571 E. AFRICA, UGANDA, ACHOLI TRIBE. Necklet of 24 separate iron wire circular rings. Slightly constricted in the middle. Iron 'burnisher' down one side - also keeps the rings firmly in position. The opposite side is held in 2 places by fibres woven between the rings. The top and bottom rings are not held by [?the, ?sentence unfinished, or ?this] [note that this is slightly misleading, both rings are in fact fixed by fibre, but it has broken on one side; RTS 22/7/2005]. Panikwar Coll. 1st June 1912. Diameter of ends 11.5 cm, 15 cm. Diameter of middle [no measurement] Diameter of wire [no measurement] Height 10.9 cm.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 30/1/2004].

Pre-PRM label - O.H.M.S. [printed] Acholi. Necklet. Armlets. with burnisher. 1/6/12 fr[om]. Panikwar [long narrow brown tag with metal eyelet, probably a collectors label, and possibly belonging with 1966.1.571, 1966.1.517 and 1966.1.518; tied to object; RTS 21/7/2005].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - 1966.1.571. ACHOLI. Necklet of iron rings. Panikwar coll. Obtd. Ipswich Museum [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object]; AFRICA, Uganda, Panikwar? ACHOLI tribe. Iron neck ornament. Purch. Ipswich Museum. 1966.1.571 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 22/7/2005].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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