Dinka Tuich basket

Dinka Tuich basket
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Dhangrial ?Wun Rog ?Mayen
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich
Date Made:
By 1979
Grass Stem Plant , Grass Fibre Plant , Animal Dung
Basketry , Twined Woven , Plaited , Bound
H = 287, mouth diam = 140 x 122, max body diam = 260, W stems = 3 to 5 mm [RTS 2/8/2005].
523.0 g
Local Name:
kwen rup
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 50 piastres between 17th and 26th 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 17 and 26 February 1979
Basket used for storing seeds, consisting of an inturned rim on a tall bulbous body with low maximum diameter and convex base. This has been made using a stake and strand twining technique that consists of vertical groups of stiff yellow grass stems (Pantone 7507C), interwoven with horizontal grass stems. The top of the vertical elements have been bent over and woven into a loose, multi stranded rim that is also held together by a plaited length of grass cord, wound vertically around the crossing strands, tying them to the body below. The finish on the body itself is generally tighter; the vertical elements come together at the centre of the base, where they are bundled into groups of six strands, that cross over one another to form a decorative 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. Both interior and exterior have been plastered with a grayish brown fibrous dung to try and seal some of the many gaps in the weave (Pantone 7532C). The basket is nearly complete, with some minor damage to some areas, and has a weight of 523 grams. It has a height of 287 mm and a mouth diameter of 140 by 122 mm, and a maximum diameter of 260 mm. The grass stems that make up the bodywork have a typical width of 3 to 5 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton for 50 piastres between 17th and 26th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan; the town where it was collected is not stated, but would have been Dhangrial, Wun Rog or Mayen. 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, Wun Rog and Mayen lie 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.

Langton gives the local term for this type of object as
kwen rup. While kwen does not appear in Nebel's Dinka dictionary, Rup may be equivalent to Rap, plural rèp, which means ‘durra, corn’ (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 75). The same type of grass stem seen on this object was also used to make baskets 1979.20.44-47 (which use a similar construction technique) 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'). Winnowing trays 1979.20.71-72 are also made in the same way; this technique 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 [insert] (the collectors) [end insert] were offering money, the Dinka in surrounding compounds came daily, increasing prices as often as they could! [p. 194] 1979.20.64 Small basket, kwen rup , for storing seeds. H = 28 cm, Opening diam. = 12 cm. Similar to another piece, Coll. no. 142, which did not come to PRM. This piece cost 50 pt.; Coll. no. 237.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F33-27.

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 for storing seeds, kwen rup . Pat Langton coll., no. 237. 1979.20.64 [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].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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