Dinka Tuich spear

Dinka Tuich spear
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal ?Dhangrial ?Wun Rog ?Mayen [Omdurman]
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich Baggara Arab
Date Made:
By 1979
Iron Metal , Wood Plant , Brass Metal
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Socketed , Carved , Recycled
Total L = 1655, diam shaft = 15; diam socket = 18.2, L blade = 463, Max W blade = 30.7, th blade = 5.8, W band = 7.3 mm [RTS 3/1/2005].
318.5 g
Local Name:
tong magang
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 1.50 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
Spear consisting of an iron point, with a narrow, leaf-shaped blade with a prominent raised midrib running down the centre of the length on both sides, and narrow rounded shoulders. This has a socketed base with a seam running up one side; the upper part of this is decorated with 2 widely spaced pairs of shallow grooves around the circumference, giving the body a segmented appearance similar to that of a length of bamboo. Below this section the socket is plain and gradually expands to its base, and is currently a metallic grey colour (Pantone 877C). This has been fitted onto a narrow shaft carved from a light piece of yellowish wood (Pantone 7509C) that has a circular section, and tapers gradually to a flat cut end. It has been decorated with a single brass band positioned about one third the way down the body; this has been recycled from a reused cartridge case, with roughly cut edges; this is a bright metallic yellow colour (Pantone 871C). The spear is complete, and apart from some surface rust on the spearhead, in good condition. It has a weight of 318.5 grams, with a total length of 1655 mm. The shaft has a diameter of 15 mm, and the decorative band around it has a width of 7.3 mm. The spearhead is 463 mm long, with a maximum blade width of 30.7 mm at the shoulders, a thickness of 5.8, and a socket width of 18.2 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton on 19th February 1979 for £1.50, as part of the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the southern Sudan. The place of collection was not specified, but would have been either Dhangrial, Wun Rog or Mayen, all of which like in the modern administrative district of 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.

This spear was made by Baggara Arabs, and is called
tong magang. Nebel defines the term Tòng, plural tòòng , as ‘spear, war, fight’ (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 84). The Dinka often modify the term tong by a second word that describes the appearance of the spear, such as tong alol , tong anerich, tong magang or tong achokwe (see 1979.20.76-79, 1979.20.94, 96-97, 107-108, 110).

The Dinka Tuich obtain their spears through trade.
The better-made more traditional examples are produced by the 'Jur Lao', (e.g.: 1979.20.108) and usually inferior 'copies' are made by Arab smiths at Omdurman, as in this example.

Currently on display in the Upper Gallery, Case 26A.

Rachael Sparks 25/9/2005.

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. [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. 196] 1979.20.76 Spear, tong magang . Made by Baggara Arabs. Spears come from two sources: a) Jur-made, the traditional beautifully carved spears made and traded by the Jur Lao. b) from Omdurman, where Arab smiths now copy the Jur style, but usually the products are not as fine. Tong means spear; the rest of the name describes its appearance. Total L = 1.66 M., L. ironhead = 46.2 cm. Coll. 19.2.79; £1.50. Coll. no. 178.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F35-32.

Card Catalogue Entry - The card repeats the accession book entry, but is annotated with an additional photo number, A20.F10.1 [RTS 5/4/2004].

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. A note in Langton's list for number 178 indicates that tong is the Dinka word for spear [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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