Dinka Tuich basket

Dinka Tuich basket
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Dhangrial ?Wun Rog ?Mayen
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich
Date Made:
By 1979
Grass Stem Plant , Palm Fibre Plant , Animal Hide Skin , Animal Dung
Basketry , Twined Woven , Bound
Ht = 460, rim diam = 350 x 280, max diam = 480; grass stem W = 4, palm strip W = 15, central rib W = 32.5 mm [RTS 2/8/2005].
>1000 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 1.75 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
Large basket of the type taken to the cattle camp by women, with an oval, slightly inturned rim, and straight sides that flare down and out towards a bulbous lower body and convex base. This has been made using a stake and strand twining technique that consists of vertical pairs of stiff yellow grass stems (Pantone 7507C), with broader flat strips of yellow palm fibre interwoven horizontally between them (Pantone 7507C). The body has been reinforced with hide thong binding around the top edge, then by a series of horizontal ribs around the circumference, consisting of pairs of grass stems sewn onto the basketry using a grayish yellow hide thong (Pantone 465C). There are 3 such ribs, just below the rim, halfway down the upper body, and at the maximum diameter of the vessel, just above the base. There is also a much thicker rib halfway down the vessel walls, made of a thick bundle of grass stems, slightly twisted, bound together onto the basketry body with another hide thong. This rib also acts as a handle. The construction method changes at the base of the vessel, where the walls begin to curve; here the lowest tier of palm fibre strips consists of 3 pieces that overlap one another, then the grass verticals also overlap to create a square reinforced bottom, which is secured by a row of hide binding around its outer circumference, and then by 5 rows of hide binding across the base, and a further two rows of binding at the top and bottom of the 'square'. The interior of the basket has been sealed with a layer of dark brown mud or dung (Pantone 7533C), probably the latter as it appears to have some fibrous content; some of this sealing has pushed through the weave and is visible on the outer surface. The object is complete. The basket has a weight in excess of 1000 grams, and is 460 mm high, with a rim diameter of 350 by 280 mm and maximum diameter of 480 mm. The grass stems are 4 mm wide, while the palm strips have a typical width of 15 mm and the central reinforcing rib has a width of 32.5 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton at Mayen for £1.75 on 25th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan. 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 name for this type of basket is
ahooth, and it is made of riath or riet, a type of swamp grass (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 77 and p. 109 under 'basket'). This material was also used for making a slightly different style of basket, represented by accession numbers 1979.20.44-48.

Rachael Sparks 2/8/2005.

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. 201] 1979.20.112 Basket, ahooth , of the type taken to the cattle camp by women. Made of riath grass and palm. H = ca. 45 cm.; Diam. mouth = 33 cm. Coll. 25.2.79; £1.75. Coll. no. 282.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F33-32.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 19/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S. SUDAN, TINKA TUICH. Basket, ahooth , of the type taken to the cattle camps. Pat Langton coll., no. 282. 1979.20.112 [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object; RTS 2/8/2005].

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].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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