Dinka Tuich basket

Dinka Tuich basket
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal Dhangrial
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich
Date Made:
By 1979
Grass Stem Plant , Animal Dung
Basketry , Twined Woven , Decorated , Dyed Stained
H = 240, Rim diam = 300 x 290, W grass stem = 3 mm [RTS 2/8/2005].
633.9 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton on 17th February 1979 for 40 piastres 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:
17 February 1979
Basket used for carrying sorghum, consisting of an upright slightly oval rim and deep body with upright walls that swell out convexly over the lower body to a convex base with flattened centre. This has been made using a stake and strand twining technique that consists of vertical groups of stiff yellow grass stems (Pantone 7509C), interwoven with horizontal grass stems. The top of the vertical elements have been bent over and woven into a neatly finished and reinforced rim that protrudes from the body as 2 parallel ridges. These vertical elements can be seen crossing over one another at the base to form a star with eight arms, visible on both the interior and exterior of the vessel and framed by groups of stems weaving in and out of the arms in 2 concentric circles. Some of the grass stems have been dyed a dark grayish brown colour (Pantone 7532C), creating 3 horizontal bands of decoration around the body. The interior has been partially smeared with dark brown fibrous dung to seal the gaps between the weave (Pantone 7532C). The basket is complete, and has a weight of 633.9 grams. It has a height of 240 mm and a rim diameter of 300 by 290 mm, which is also the maximum diameter of the vessel. The grass stems that make up the bodywork have a typical width of 3 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton at Dhangrial on 17th February 1979 for 40 piastres as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan. At the time this object was collected, the Bahr el Ghazal province was bordered by the Upper Nile Province to the east and Western Equatoria to the south; this area is now divided into the districts of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and parts of Warab and El Buheyrat. Dhangrial is located within Northern Bahr el Ghazal. For a map showing the distribution of Dinka Tuich groups, see J. Ryle, 1982,
Warriors of the White Nile: The Dinka , p. 25.

The local term for this type of basket is given as
gankor , and they were made by women from riath or riet, which is a type of swamp grass (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 77 and p. 109 under 'basket'). The same type of grass stem was also used to make baskets 1979.20.45-48 (which are also made in the same style) and 1979.20.112; the darker coloured bands were made by staining the strands with mud. Winnowing trays 1979.20.71-72 are also made in the same style, and were sometimes used as matching covers for the larger vessels. The way in which the body was woven is much clearer from these trays, which show the vertical struts radiating out from the central 'star' at the base, and then dividing a number of times before reaching the rim.

Rachael Sparks 2/8/2005.

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. [p. 191] 1979.20.43-135 SOUTHERN SUDAN the DINKA TUICH. The Dinka Tuich, a pastoral people, live to the north of Wau, in Bahr el Ghazal province. This collection was made mostly at Dhangrial, the archaeological site at which we camped. Other artifacts were collected either at Wun Rog, a small town about a mile south of Dhangrial, or at Mayen, the new administrative centre 12 miles north. This was a remote area, difficult of access and rarely visited by outsiders. The Dinka are very aware of the potential of money, which is used either to help family members acquire education or entry into commerce and administration in Juba or Khartoum. Once it was known we (the collectors) were offering money, the Dinka in surrounding compounds came daily, increasing prices as often as they could! [p. 191] 1979.20.44 Medium-sized basket, gankor , for carrying sorghum. Made by women from riath grass. Some strands are soaked in black mud to stain them for decoration. H = 23 cm.; Diam = 29 cm. Coll. by P[atti]L[angdon] in Dhangrial, 17.2.79; 40 pt.; Coll. no. 80.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F33-25.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 19/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S. SUDAN DINKA TUICH. Basket, gankor . Pat Langton Coll., no. 80. 1979.20.44 [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object; RTS 2/8/2005].

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].

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