Moru Misa arrow

Moru Misa arrow
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Western Equatoria ?Lui ?Lanyi
Cultural Group:
Moru Misa
Date Made:
By 1979
Wood Plant , Plant Fibre , Resin Plant? , Pigment?
Carved , Notched , Socketed , Bound , Decorated
Total L = 892; arrowhead visible L = 287, diam = 8.2; shaft L = 604, diam = 8, nock L = 10, upper binding L = 30, lower binding L = 19 mm [RTS 3/6/2005].
27.3 g
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton on 5th February 1979 with 5 other arrows for a total of 1, 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:
5 February 1979
Arrow consisting of a dark brown ebony arrowhead (Pantone black 4C) with pointed tip and narrow body that swells out towards the lower body then narrows again at its base. This has been decorated with 2 notches, carved at the midpoint and lower down the body on one side. The arrowhead has been fitted into the socketed top of a lightweight wooden shaft. This is a yellow colour (Pantone 7401C), and has numerous irregularities down the surface, which has been stripped off its bark but only roughly finished underneath. Narrow strips of plant fibre have been bound around the junction of tang and shaft, and again just above the nocked butt, which has 2 rectangular notches cut into opposite sides. Both areas appear to have been smeared with a reddish material, possible a resin to act as a fixative (Pantone 4625C); this has stained some of the wood below. The arrow is complete, with some wear to the upper binding and also on the arrowhead. It has a weight of 27.3 grams and a total length of 891 mm. The visible area of the arrowhead has a length of 287 mm and a diameter of 8.2 mm, while the wooden shaft is 604 mm long, with a diameter of 8 mm and a nock length of 10 mm; the binding is 30 mm long around the upper part, and 19 mm long around the lower end.

Purchased by Patti Langton on 5th February 1979 with 5 other arrows for a total of £1, as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan; for the other arrows, see 1979.20.16-21. The exact collection place was not specified, but must have been at either Lui or Lanyi.

Langton does not record the Moru name for this type of object. For a similar Moro arrow, collected by Evans-Pritchard, see 1930.86.19.1. The Burun also use this type: see 1944.10.41, which combines a notched ebony point with a segmented cane shaft, binding the two together with hide strips rather than the plant fibre seen here.

The Moru also make arrows with iron points; see 1936.86.18.2-15, 1936.86.19.2-12. 1979.20.18-21 for examples; Powell-Cotton records the name of that type of arrow as
atu . For a Moru quiver, see 1936.86.18.1; for a Moru bow, called kusu, see 1934.8.32; for a Moru archer's ring, used to draw back the bowstring, see 1934.8.34; this is known as a driba.

Rachael Sparks 29/8/2005.

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. [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] 1979.20.16 - 21 Six arrows. Coll. 5.2.79; £1; Coll. no. 64. [1979.20] .16 - Smooth wooden point, L = 28.5 cm.; nocked, no feathers. Total L = 89.2 cm.
Additional Accession Book Entry [in red biro under accession number, for 1979.20.16-21] - A5-F32-22.

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

Pitt Rivers Museum label - SOUTHERN SUDAN. MORU MISA tribal area. Arrow. Pat Langton coll., no. 64. 1979.20.16 [plastic label with metal eyelet; tied to object; RTS 3/6/2005].

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 [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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