Moru Misa winnowing tray

Moru Misa winnowing tray
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Western Equatoria ?Lui ?Lanyi
Cultural Group:
Moru Misa
Date Made:
By 1979
Plant Stem , Grass Fibre Plant
Basketry , Chequer Woven , Knotted
Diagonal L between corners = 493, straight edge L = 415 and 430; height = 225, th = 6, W strips = 4 mm [RTS 20/9/2005].
213.5 g
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 35 piastres between 27th January and 5th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan [RTS 15/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
Between 27 January and 5 February 1979
Scoop-shaped winnowing tray with almost square plan view, consisting of a curved edge along one side, where the body is deepest, and two straight sides that meet at the opposite corner, where the body becomes very shallow. This has been made from strips of plant fibre, woven together in a checkweave pattern of over 2, under 2. The strips are yellow on their outer face (Pantone 7403C), and a warmer orange colour on the interior (Pantone 7407C), with some browner pieces mixed in. Around the rim of the tray, the warp or vertical elements are bent over at the top and back against the body, where they are woven in with a series of brown edging strips (Pantone 7505C), arranged in 3 rows of oblique binding to form a finished border around the tray. There are the remains of a narrow fibre suspension loop, tied onto the shallow corner, but now broken. Despite this, the tray looks very new and probably has never been used. It is complete and intact, and has a weight of 213.5 grams. The tray measures 493 mm diagonally across from deep to shallow corner; the straight sides are 415 mm and 430 mm in length respectively, and the tray has a maximum height of 225 mm and thickness of 6 mm. The fibre strips have a width of 4 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton for 35 piastres sometime between 27th January and 5th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan. The exact provenance is not given, but it would have been obtained at either Lui or Lanyi, in the modern administrative district of Western Equatoria.

The local name for this object is not given, but Moru baskets made of similar material are said to be made out of the stem of sorghum grass, which is known as
cheche (see 1979.20.5, 1979.20.8-9).

Rachael Sparks 20/9/2005.

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. 189] 1979.20.26 - Winnowing tray, basketry technique sim. to 1979.20.8 [described as "Basket, korengwa . Made of cheche grass"]. Inner L. = 49 cm. Cost 35 pt. Coll. no. 25.
Additional Accession Book Entry [in red biro under accession number] - A5-F32-31.

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. Winnowing tray. Pat Langton coll., no. 25. 1979.20.26 [plastic coated label with metal eyelet, tied to object; RTS 20/9/2005].

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 object appears on a handwritten list in the RDF, but not on Langton's original typed list [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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