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 , Plant Seed
Basketry , Twined Woven , Decorated , Dyed Stained
H = 330 mm, Rim diam = 460, grass stem W = 3 mm [RTS 2/8/2005].
>1000 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Purchased by Brian John Mack (known as John Mack) (then at the Museum of Mankind) for 75 piastres on 17th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the Southern Sudan, headed by Patti Langton [RTS 14/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Brian John Mack (known as John Mack), Museum of Mankind
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
17 February 1979
Large basket used for carrying grain, consisting of a slightly everted circular rim and deep body with straight sides that flare in slightly before curving in to a flattened base. This has been made using a stake and strand twining technique that consists of vertical groups of stiff yellow grass stems (Pantone 7508C), 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 slightly from the body. At the base, the vertical elements cross over one another to form a decorative star with eight arms, visible on both the interior and exterior of the vessel. Some of the grass stems have been dyed a dark grayish brown colour (Pantone 405C), creating 3 horizontal bands of decoration around the body. The interior has been plastered with dark brown fibrous dung as a sealant (Pantone Black 4C); a few small grains or seeds have become trapped in this material on the interior walls and base. The basket is complete and intact, and has a weight in excess of 1000 grams. It has a height of 330 mm and a rim diameter of 460 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 Brian John Mack (known as John Mack) at Dhangrial for 75 piastres on 17th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the Southern Sudan, headed by Patti Langton. 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 same type of grass stem is used to make baskets 1979.20.44-47 (which are also made in the same style) and 1979.20.112; this material is a type of swamp grass known locally as
riath or riet (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 77 and p. 109 under 'basket'). According to the record for 1979.20.44, 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 these 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. 192] 1979.20.48 Gandit similar to 1979.20.45. H = 33 cm., Diam. = 46.5 cm. Coll. by John Mack [Museum of Mankind] in Dhangrial, 17.2.79; 75 pt. Coll. no. 89.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F33-35.

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

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S. SUDAN, DINKA TUICH. Large basket, gandit. Pat Langton coll., no. 89. 1979.20.48 [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. Langton's list describes this object 'as [Langton] 82' which is a 'Large basket, gandit , for carrying grain. Made of riath grass' [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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