Lugbara arrow

Lugbara arrow
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Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Bahr el Jebel Limbe
Cultural Group:
Lugbara blacksmith
Date Made:
Iron Metal , Cane Plant , Plant Fibre , Resin Plant? , Pigment?
Forged (Metal) , Hammered , Carved , Notched , Bound , Recycled
Total L = 765; arrowhead L = 160, blade L = 71, shoulder W = 14, th = 2.2; tang W = 5, th = 5; shaft L = ca. 605, diam = 10.3 x 10 nock L = 2; upper binding L = 67, lower binding L = 45 mm [RTS 6/6/2005].
54.9 g
Field Collector:
Lutaya Expedition
PRM Source:
Lutaya Expedition via B.E. Harrell-Bond
Purchased 1985
Collected Date:
July to September 1984
Arrow consisting of an iron arrowhead with a blunt-ended narrow, leaf-shaped blade and rounded shoulders. The blade has an ogee-shaped section, and an elongated square sectioned tang. This has been chiselled down its opposite sides and faces to create 2 pairs of downward pointing barbs, with the surface above, between and below each barb roughened with groups of shallower cuts. The tang joins onto a wooden shaft, but the junction has been obscured by a thick layer of fibre binding, heavily smeared with a reddish brown resinous material, probably as a fixative (Pantone 4695C). The shaft has been cut from a length of yellow cane (Pantone 7509C), probably with parts of 4 segments preserved. The base has a shallow nock cut across the face, immediately below a joint in the wood, while the shaft above this has also been bound round with red stained fibre. The arrow is complete and intact, with traces of rust on the iron surface. It has a weight of 54.9 grams and a total length of 765 mm. The section of the arrowhead visible above the shaft has a length of 160 mm, with the blade being 71 mm long, 14 mm wide across its shoulders and 2.2 mm thick at the centre, and the tang having a width of 5 mm and thickness of 5 mm. The shaft is around 605 mm long, with a body diameter of 10.3 by 10 mm and a nock length of 2 mm; the upper binding is 67 mm long, and the lower binding is 45 mm long.

Collected by the Lutaya Expedition, a seven-member research and support expedition from the Third World Society of Oxford University. at the Limbe Refugee Settlement. This was used to house Ugandan refugees.

The arrow was made by a Lugbara blacksmith, with its head shaped from a recycled iron nail, using a metal chisel, and stone block anvil and hammer. The Lugbara are a group from northwestern Uganda, the adjoining area of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the West Nile district. They relate culturally and linguistically to the Madi.

For a similar arrow, see 1985.24.8; another example is published by Trowell and Wachsmann, and attributed to the Acholi Lugbara (
Tribal Crafts of Uganda, 1953, p. 249, pl. 65C).

Rachael Sparks 29/8/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 68] - 1985.24 (.1 - 14) P[urchase] LUTAYA EXPEDITION, c/o B. E. HARRELL-BOND, ... OXFORD. A collection of items made by the Lutaya Expedition to YEI RIVER DISTRICT, EQUATORIA, SUDAN, 1984. This was a seven-member research and support expedition from the Third World Society of Oxford University, to settlements for Ugandan refugees from West Nile Province, Uganda. See Related Documents File for notes and field photographs. [p. 70, 1985.24] .7, 8 SUDAN - EQUATORIA - YEI RIVER DISTRICT - LIMBE REFUGEE SETTLEMENT [1 of] Two arrows: barbed iron heads beaten from nails, nocked reed shafts, bark bindings. Made by a LUGBARA blacksmith. See photos in RDF. [1985.24] .7: L = 760 mm.
Additional Accession Book Entry [p. 70, under accession number, in red biro] - A11.F16.3.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 28/1/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label
- SUDAN, EQUATORIA, YEI RIVER DISTRICT. LIMBE REFUGEE SETTLEMENT. Arrow made by a Lumbara [sic] blacksmith. Purch. Lutaya Expedition 1985.24.7 [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object; RTS 6/6/2005].

Related Documents File -
1985.24, a typed document headed 'Lutaya Expedition to Yei River District, Equatoria, Sudan July-September 1984. Subheading: 'Third world First Society, Oxford University. A seven-member research and support expedition to settlements for Ugandan refugees from West Nile Province, Uganda'. A list follows, describing the objects collected; this appears as part of item 4: 'Two arrows. Provenance, Limbe Refugee settlement, made by Lugbara blacksmith. Arrow heads beaten from nails. Heads fastened with bark. Shaft made from local reed'. Enclosed are two black and white photographic prints showing a male blacksmith making arrows at Limbe - holding or working on the shaft, with a chisel in hand; and hitting the head? with a block of stone, using another stone as anvil below. A third photograph shows a different blacksmith ag Gumbari refugee settlement in Yei River district, July 1984, working an object with a large stone as anvil below [RTS 6/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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