Northern Larim potter's tool

Northern Larim potter's tool
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Lomachada
Cultural Group:
Northern Larim
Date Made:
By 1979
Wood Plant , Mica Stone
L = 149 mm, W = 33.6 mm, max Th = 7.5 mm, min Th = 1.5 mm (at edge) [RTS 27/5/2004].
15.9 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton at the home of a potter in Lomachada on 21st March 1979 [RTS 25/5/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
21 March 1979
Wooden spatula, carved from a single piece of wood with the grain running along its length, and consisting of a roughly rectangular body that is curved at either end, with irregularly flat upper and lower surfaces. One edge is flat, and slightly concave, with the body thinning to the other edge, which is slightly convex along its length. It is this thin edge, and one thinner, curved end that appear to have been used as the primary working surfaces. The wood is a light yellow to mid brown (Pantone 7508C), but there are faint traces of red at places along the thin side and end edges. Both upper and lower surfaces are covered with patches of sandy yellowish material (Pantone 7510C) that contains numerous small flecks of mica. The tool is largely complete, although it may have suffered some damage to its edges in the past. It is 149 mm long, 33.6 mm wide, and ranges in thickness from 7.5 mm, at the back edge, to 1.5 mm on the opposite side, with a weight of 15.9 grams.

Purchased on 21st March 1979 by Patti Langton, from a potter at Lomachada Village, in the Kisawo clan area, as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan.

This tool is used in decorating pottery, and is known by the Northern Larim as
banyit. The potter it was bought from did not use any other means of decorating his wares, although other potters sometimes used grass roulettes (see 1979.20.149). Another potter's tool used by the Larim was a burnishing pebble (see 1979.20.137).

For other sets of potter's tools from the southern Sudan, see 1934.8.132, from the kit of the Zande potter Mbitim; this also included wooden spatulas, similarly coated with micaceous clay. A number of South Sudanese clays seem to contain particles of mica, including those used by the Moru Misa (1979.20.33), Larim (1979.20.138), Zande and Bongo
(P.M. Larken, 1926, "An Account of the Zande", Sudan Notes and Records IX no. 1, p. 4; G. Schweinfurth, 1873, In the Heart of Africa Volume I, p. 292; Volume II, p. 25).

Rachael Sparks 8/9/2005.

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. 207] 1979.20.148 Wooden pottery decorator, banyit . The only method of decoration used by the potter from whom it was purchased. L = 14.8 cm. PL 18.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F35-22.

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

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'. No cost is given [RTS 12/1/2004].

Written on object - PL 18 [white chalk], S. SUDAN, N. LARIM, P. Langton; PL 18, 1979.20.148 [white ink; RTS 27/5/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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