Northern Larim waist ornament

Northern Larim waist ornament
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Lomachada Kapoeta
Cultural Group:
Northern Larim
Date Made:
By 1979
Animal Hide Skin , Glass , Plant Fibre
Beadwork , Incised , Tied , Stitched
L = 327 mm, W = 260 mm, inside L = 305 mm, inside W = 231 mm, Ht strip = 12.5 mm, Th strip doubled up = 13.5 mm, Diam beads = 2 mm, Th beads = 1 mm [RTS 16/6/2004].
120.3 g
Local Name:
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
Waist ornament consisting of a rectangular strip of elephant hide, taken from the ear of the animal, and bent into an oval loop to fit around the waist. This strip has been doubled over to present a convex outer face and flat inside edge where the two sides of the strip are pressed together, leaving a groove running around the circumference between. It tapers to either end, with the ends tied together and wound several times around the join. The hide is a dark brown colour, with some small reddish brown hairs visible in places (Pantone black 7C). At the centre of the object is a small section of beadwork, 24 to 26 mm in width, strung on short vertical lengths of plant fibre to wrap around the curved outer face of the hide strip, with each length then knotted off at either end on the inside face of the object. This section consists of 10 vertical rows of 18 beads each (except one of the edge rows, which has only 16 beads), arranged in a repeating design of 4 green beads (Pantone 359C), a group of red-black-red beads (Pantone 1797C and black 6C), 4 green beads, another red-black-red group, then a final 4 green beads. This makes a total of 178 beads. The beads appear to be made of opaque glass, whose surfaces are partially discoloured by dirt; these are all of the same shape - a small ring or 'seed' bead with convex sides. In additional to the vertical threads that run through each column, there are two horizontal bands of twisted plant fibre stitching to hold the beads in place as a group; these are positioned just below and above the top and bottom bands of green beads. On either side of this beadwork, the outer surface of the object has been decorated with a series of shallow incised grooves that run parallel to the edges. On one half of the object there are three grooves - placed with one groove around the edge of the upper face, a second groove around the outside edge, and the third groove on the ornament underside. The areas between grooves have been decorated with two bands of incised oblique hatching; just before the central beaded section, there is a small gap, then the hatching changes direction. The decoration of the other half of the object is not symmetrical to the first half. There are four roughly parallel grooves around the surface. In addition, between these, the underside is decorated with a horizontal band of oblique hatching, all running in one direction, a short section where a fifth groove is added to the underside, then a continuation of the hatching band. The upper surface has no further decoration until it approaches the knotted end of the waist band, where there is similar oblique hatching. The object appears to be complete and intact. It has a length of 327 and a width of 260 mm (across the outside edges), and 305 by 231 (across the inside edges). The hide strip is 12.5 mm high, and 13.5 mm thick, in its current doubled over form. The binding strips around the tied off area, which are assumed to be a continuation of the ends of the waist band strip, are 5 mm wide. The beads are all of very similar dimensions, with a typical example being 2 mm in diameter and 1 mm thick. It weighs 120.3 grams.

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

This object was worn around the waist by men, either during dances or to impress the parents of a girl that he is hoping to marry. It has the local name
nyekedengo, and is made with beads from the nearby town of Kapoeta. The green, black and red beads on this object are the same type and colours as seen on the goat hide belt, 1979.20.179, which is attributed to the Southern Larim.

Rachael Sparks 23/08/2005.

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] 1979.20.143 Elephant ear waist ornament, nyekedengo ; beaded. Worn by men only, as a special decoration either for dancing or to impress the parents of a girl a boy hopes to marry. The beads are bought from Kapoeta, the nearest town. L = 33 cm.; W = 26.8 cm. Coll. no. PL 9. Cost £1.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F35-29.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 24/5/2004].

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. This item appears in Langton's list under the heading 'purchased at the home of the potter, Kisawo clan area Lomachada village' [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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