Moru Misa house ornament

Moru Misa house ornament
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Western Equatoria Lui
Cultural Group:
Moru Misa
Date Made:
By 1979
Glass , Cotton Yarn Plant
Beadwork , Strung , tied , Recycled
L = 183 mm, L bulb = 107 mm, Diam bulb top = 26 mm, Max Diam bulb = 64.8 mm, Diam beads = 2.2 mm, Th beads = 1.5 mm [RTS 19/5/2004].
88.8 g
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton in Liu on 5 February 1979, for 1.50, during the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the southern Sudan [RTS 19/5/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
5 February 1979
Light bulb recycled and used as the body of a decorative hanging ornament. The light bulb itself is made of translucent, slightly clouded glass ('pearl') and comprises a narrow, flat topped, circular aluminium fitting, with black plastic band below tapering out to a cylindrical brass screw base, from which hangs a a pear-shaped glass body with convex base. This base does not appear to have any manufacturers markings printed on it. Part of the filament inside appears to have come loose. The bulb body has been covered with a fine network of cotton thread strings, tied in lozenge shaped patterns, and strung with a series of small coloured ring-shaped beads with convex sides. At the top of this, double strands of blue beads alternating with double strands of green beads extend over the screw fitting to join at the top, where a group of cotton threads forms a simple loop which can be used to hang the ornament up. On the body, the cotton net cover expands to match the shape of the bulb underneath, and consists of a single row of white beads at the top, then bands of orange, blue, white, green and blue beads forming horizontal zigzag patterns around the circumference. Below this is a two colour green and white zigzag band, then plain bands of orange, blue, white, green, and blue; a two colour orange and green zigzag band, then further white, blue, and white bands to the base of the cover. From this base hang 27 bead tassels, each made of two strands that are tied together at the top, with each strand comprising 3 green, 4 blue and 8 to 9 white glass beads. All the white and blue beads (Pantone 294C) are opaque, while the orange (Pantone 1505C) and green beads (Pantone 367C) are translucent. The ornament is complete and intact. The light bulb has a base diameter of 26 mm, a maximum body diameter of 64.8 mm and a length of 107 mm. Each bead is of a similar size, with diameters of 2.2 mm and thicknesses of 1.5 mm. The total length of the ornament, as hung, is 183 mm, and it weighs 88.8 grams.

Purchased by Patti Langton at Liu for £1.50 on 5 February 1979, during the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the southern Sudan. Langton commented that Lui had no electricity, and therefore this object could only be used as an ornament. She does not give us its Moru Misa name.

Rachael Sparks 6/9/2005.

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 alottment of the collection do not appear on her list and have been added here. See Related Documents file as well. [pp 185 - 186] 1979.20.1 - 42 SOUTHERN SUDAN the MORU MISA The Moru Misa live about 100 miles west of Juba, the capital of the Southern Sudan. Part of the collection was made in Lui, a small town which has had extensive church and missionary activity over the past 50 years (excluding the period of civil war) and which now boasts a church, a hospital and a number of schools. The rest of the Moru Misa collection was made at Lanyi, 15 miles away, where the paramount chief of the area, Chief Elinama, arranged for people to bring artifacts for us to buy. Although money is known to the Moru, its use is limited and the concept of selling belongings is foreign to them. Hence the low prices and the relatively small number of artefacts. The Moru Misa are a geographical section of the Moru people. The Moru practice agriculture for subsistence; they do not keep cattle any longer. [p. 188] 1979.20.15 - Lightbulb with beadwork cover. Used for ornament only, since it was collected in Lui - a town with no electricity. Total L = 15 cm. Coll. 5.2.79; £1.50. Coll. no. 39.
Additional Accession Book Entry [in red biro under accession number] - A5-F32-19.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 2/6/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, Sudan, Lui MORU MISA Bead covered lightbulb used as a hanging ornament Purchased from Patti Langton [coll. 39] [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 8/7/2005].

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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