Dinka cupping horn

Dinka cupping horn
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Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Dhangrial ?Wun Rog ?Mayen
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich
Date Made:
By 1979
Animal Horn
Carved , Polished
L = 134 mm, L rim = 37.5 mm, W rim = 35 mm, base diam 9.2 by 8.8, diam base hole = 6 mm, th walls = 1 mm
15.2 g
Local Name:
tung tiak
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 50 piastres on 25th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan [RTS 14/5/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
25 February 1979
Cupping tool made from a small translucent light greenish brown animal's horn (Pantone 465C). This has been cut flat at top and base, with the body curving to follow the natural shape of the horn. The interior has been removed, leaving fine walls around 1 mm thick, and allowing the object to act as a funnel. The outer surface has been polished. The object is complete and intact, and has a weight of 15.2 grams. It measures 134 mm along its greatest length; the rim is 37.5 mm long and 35 mm wide, while the base is 9.2 mm long by 8.8 mm wide, and has an opening 6 mm in diameter.

Purchased by Patti Langton for 50 piastres on 25th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan, at either Dhangrial, Wun Rog or Mayen. At the time this object was collected, the Bahr el Ghazal province was bordered by the Upper Nile Province to the east and Western Equatoria to the south; this area is now divided into the districts of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and parts of Warab and El Buheyrat. Dhangrial, Wun Rog and Mayen lie within Northern Bahr el Ghazal. For a map showing the distribution of Dinka Tuich groups, see J. Ryle, 1982,
Warriors of the White Nile: The Dinka , p. 25.

The local term for this type of object is said to be
tung tiak. Nebel defines the term Tung, plural tuong, as ‘horn, small ivory bracelet’, and the medical term for cupping someone as ‘ joc tung or ngop tung' (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 85 and p. 125).

Domville Fife describes how the Agar Dinkas would use this type of object: "Wounds and boils are made to suppurate by suction at the end of a curved, hollow horn which is placed over them" (C.W. Domville Fife, 1927,
Savage Life in the Black Sudan, p. 136). A similar device was used by Zande doctors, who suck through the mouth of the horn, using their tongue as a valve (R. Gayer-Anderson, 1911, Some Tribal Customs in their Relation to Medicine & Morals of the Nyam-Nyam and Gour Peoples Inhabiting The Bahr-el-Ghazal, Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories, Khartoum, rep. no. 4, vol. B, p. 250 and fig. 70).

Rachael Sparks 16/8/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 185] - 1979.20 (.1 - 206) P[urchase] MISS PATTI LANGTON, DEPT. of ETHNOLOGY & PREHISTORY, OXFORD. Collection made by Patti Langton during the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the Southern Sudan; Jan. - April 1979. The collection was made in three culture areas during the dry season. The amount paid for each object is listed if the information is known. In Jan. 1979 £1 is equivalent to 95 piastres (pt.) Sudanese. This documentation is based largely upon Patti's own list of objects and her notes on these. Sometimes objects included in the Pitt Rivers alottment of the collection do not appear on her list and have been added here. See Related Documents file as well. [p. 191] 1979.20.43-135 SOUTHERN SUDAN the DINKA TUICH. The Dinka Tuich, a pastoral people, live to the north of Wau, in Bahr el Ghazal province. This collection was made mostly at Dhangrial, the archaeological site at which we camped. Other artifacts were collected either at Wun Rog, a small town about a mile south of Dhangrial, or at Mayen, the new administrative centre 12 miles north. This was a remote area, difficult of access and rarely visited by outsiders. The Dinka are very aware of the potential of money, which is used either to help family members acquire education or entry into commerce and administration in Juba or Khartoum. Once it was known we (the collectors) were offering money, the Dinka in surrounding compounds came daily, increasing prices as often as they could! [p. 200] 1979.20.105 Cupping horn, tung tiak . Inside opening L = 12.5 cm. Coll. 25.2.79; 50 pt. Coll. no. 267.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F34-7.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 6/4/2004].

Related Documents File - 1979.20 contains a typed packing list, which has been annotated; a typed list of objects arranged by Langton collection numbers and with pencil and biro annotations, and a handwritten list of objects by museum number, essentially repeating this information and annotated with PRM photo numbers in red. This handwritten list seems to be the direct source for the accession book entry [RTS 12/1/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S.SUDAN DINKA TUICH Cupping horn, , tung tiak . Pat Langton coll., no. 267. 1979.20.105 [plastic label with metal eyelet, stored in RDF; RTS 19/5/2005].

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