Dinka Tuich basket lid

Dinka Tuich basket lid
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Dhangrial ?Wun Rog ?Mayen
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich
Made by women
Date Made:
By 1979
Grass Stem Plant
Basketry , Twined Woven , Dyed Stained , Decorated
Ht = 75, Diam = 405 x 397; W grass = 2 to 3 mm [RTS 2/8/2005].
325.3 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 50 piastres on 19th 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:
19 February 1979
Shallow basketry cover, also used as a winnowing tray. This has been made using a stake and strand twining technique that consists of vertical groups of stiff yellow grass stems (Pantone 7508C), interwoven at right angles with additional stems that follow the curve of the vessel. The framework consists of 4 bundles of grouped stems, with 6 strands per group, laid over one another to create a star shape with 8 arms at the centre of the base. These groups then divide into 16 parts, which then split further to make 32 parts, with every second group dividing a third time near the edge of the base, to make a total of 48 individual struts running up to the rim. The loose ends were then woven in with one another to make a thicker, reinforced rim with a finished edge. Some of the grass strands have been dyed a dark grayish brown colour (Pantone 7531C), creating 3 concentric bands running around the base and walls. The tray does not appear to have been used, as it is still very clean looking, with no traces of the dung that was often used to fill the cracks between the strands. The object is complete and intact, with a weight of 325.3 grams. It has a height of 75 mm and a rim diameter of 405 by 397 mm; the grass stems that make up the body have a typical width of 2 to 3 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton for 50 piastres on 19th 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
atach, which is probably the same as Atac, defined by Nebel as a flat basket (A. Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 12). This type of basket is said to have been made by women from riath grass, and was either used for covering the large type of basket known as gandit (see 1979.20.47 for an example), or for winnowing grain. Riath or riet is a type of swamp grass (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 77 and p. 109 under 'basket'). For a group of Dinka Tuich baskets made using the same technique, with a star shaped design at the centre of the base and brown banded bodies, see cover 1979.20.71, medium sized baskets 1979.20.44 and 1979.20.46, and larger baskets 1979.20.45 and 1979.20.47-48, similarly made from riath grass. According to the record for 1979.20.44, the darker coloured bands were made by staining the strands with mud. Unlike 1979.20.71, this example is very clean and has not been smeared with dung; it may never have been used.

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. 195] 1979.20.72 Atach , similar to 1979.20.71. New. Diam = 40 cm. Coll. 19.2.79; 50 pt. Coll. no. 157.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F33-31.

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 cover/winnowing tray. Pat Langton Coll., no. 157. 1979,20.72 [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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