Northern Larim bowl

Northern Larim bowl
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Lomachada
Cultural Group:
Northern Larim
Made by women [RTS 8/6/2005].
Date Made:
By 1979
Gourd Plant , Plant Fibre , Charcoal , Pigment , Glass , Bead
Hollowed , Dried , Decorated , Incised , Stained ?
Ht = 165; rim L = 327, W = 178; mouth L = 316, W = 162; handle L = 65, W = 15.5, th = 3.3 mm [RTS 16/6/2005].
181.1 g
Local Name:
kudowoch chinya kodetu nalema
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 1 on 21st March 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan [RTS 10/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
21 March 1979
Gourd food bowl consisting of a narrow flat-topped rim , constricted at the centre of both long sides where it follows the natural contour of the original plant, giving the vessel and elongated, irregularly oval plan view. The bowl has a deep hemispherical body with convex sides and base, and a single horizontal loop handle just below the rim at the centre of one of the long sides. This has been woven from brown twisted plant fibre cord (Pantone 7504C) , into a broad band that is 4 rows wide, with the ends passing through the perforated gourd wall to secure the handle. It has been further decorated with a short cylindrical bead of opaque green glass (Pantone 359C), attached to one side. The vessel was made by bisecting a gourd, scooping out the pulpy interior, drying the shell and removing the lighter coloured outer skin. The interior is a matt orange colour (Pantone 729C), while the exterior is a smooth orange colour (Pantone 7517C) that has been blackened in places. The exterior has been decorated with a series of incised patterns inlaid with black charcoal. These consist of a broad band that runs around the circumference just below the rim, framed by horizontal lines and filled with a row of crosshatched triangles pointing up and down from the base and top lines respectively. Some of these triangles meet at their apex, while others stop short. The pattern is interrupted by the handle on one side. Immediately below are a series of 2 to 3 horizontal lines, drawn somewhat irregularly around the circumference, then a similar but continuous band of triangles is repeated below, although in this case the gap between upper and lower row of triangles tends to be greater. There is an additional single line below this, with four plant motifs suspended from it, to fill the curving lower part of the bowl. Each plant is made of hatched bands that form a central trunk with subsidiary branches. The vessel is complete, but cracked at the base. It has a weight of 181.1 grams and is 165 mm high, with the rim measuring 327 by 178 mm across its outer edges, and 316 by 162 mm across its mouth; the handle is 65 mm long, 15.5 mm wide and 3.3 mm thick.

Purchased by Patti Langton at Lomachada village for £1 on 21st March 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan. This area was part of the Boya Kisawa clan.

This type of bowl was used for eating from by men only, and was known locally as
kudowoch chinya kodetu nalema - kudowoch being the term for gourd, chinya kodetu the term for handle, and nalema meaning decorated . The 'oiled' effect apparently comes from the food. These gourds are decorated by Larim women, who cut the patterns into the surface with a needle then rub charcoal over the top. This method of applying the decoration differs from that used by other cultures, such as the Dinka, where charcoal is used to mark out the designs, which are cut in with an iron needle then scored using a heated spear or knife blade (see 1979.20.91).

Vessels with similar styles of handles may also be seen on 1979.20.141 (Northern Larim) and 1979.20.167 (Southern Larim); these have comparable decorative bands that incorporate pairs of crosshatched triangles, as does 1979.20.164 (also from the Southern Larim).

Rachael Sparks 17/8/2005.

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 alootment of the collection do not appear on her list and have been added here. See Related Documents file as well. [p. 204] 1979.20.136 - 193 SOUTHERN SUDAN the LARIM The Larim live about 50 miles west of Kapoeta in the eastern corner of S. Sudan. They are a non-Nilotic pastoral people, living in permanent mountain villages. They are part of the Didinga-Longarim-Murle language group. They live in the Boya Hills - Boya is the Topasa (neighbouring group) name for the Larim, which is also used by the Administration. Longarim is the Didinga's name for them but they call themselves the Larim, and that is used here. [p. 205] The LARIM The collection was made in two parts. The "PL" labelled material was collected during Pat Langton's stay in a village in the Northern Larim area. The "∆" labelled material was collected by Jill Goudie, one of the archaeologists on the Expedition, from the base camp LARYOK, among the Southern Larim. Money is known among the Larim but it is used only for buying beads for women from Kapoeta, or for the few members of the group who would go to Juba. The women especially were more interested in exchange gifts of salt, cloth & soap. The Larim material is documented in three parts: a) General Larim pieces - no information as to which section of the Larim it comes from b) the "PL" Collection from the Northern Larim, from three of the eight Northern Larim clans c) the Southern Larim material collected by Jill Goudie, numbered "∆". [p. 206] 1979.20.140 - 148 NORTH LARIM/BOYA KISAWO CLAN AREA LOMACHADA VILLAGE 21-3-79 [p. 206] 1979.20.140 Decorated calabash with handle, kudowoch chinya kodetu nalema . Used for eating but only by men. Decorated by women, using a needle, then rubbing charcoal over. L = 32.6 cm. Coll. no. PL 2. Cost £1.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F35-27.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 25/5/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S. SUDAN, NORTHERN LARIM. Men's eating gourd. P. Langton coll., no. PL2, 1979.20.140 [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object; RTS 16/6/2005].

Written on object - PL 2 [pencil, collector's mark]; [rectangular area with illegible traces of writing]; 1979.20.140 [ink; RTS 16/6/2005].

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. This item appears in Langton's list under the heading 'purchased at the home of the potter, Kisawo clan area Lomachada village', as 'Decorated calabash with handle KUDOWOCH CHINYAKODETU NALEMA '. Decorated by women using a needle, then rubbing charcoal over. These calabashes are used for eating from, by men only. The oiled effect is from the food. Kudowoch = gourd, CHINYAKODETU = handle, NALEMA = decorated' [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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