Zande circumcision initiates dancing

Zande circumcision initiates dancing
140 x 80 mm | Print gelatin silver
There are records relating to alternative images that we do not have scans for in the database:
1998.341.679.1 - Negative film nitrate , (140 x 80 mm)
Tear/residual chemical staining or sulphide staining [EE 1989]
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
51 13 (+63)

Accession Number:
A group of boy circumcision initiates (agangasi) holding sticks and wearing grass fibre skirts, performing a circumcision dance (gbere agangasi). This image shows them with traces of ritual white ochre on their bodies. Male sponsors of their initiation stand by, one playing a skin drum (gaza).
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1927 - 1930
[Southern Sudan] Western Equatoria Yambio
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
Clothing Ritual , Dance , Body Art , Music
Musical Instrument Drum
Ritual Activity , Dancing
Ceremony Circumcision , Dance
Original catalogue lists in Manuscript Collections. Additional material in related documents files. [CM 27/9/2005]
Primary Documentation:
PRM Accession Records - [1966.27.21] G PROFESSOR E. E. EVANS-PRITCHARD; INST. OF SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 51 BANBURY RD. OXFORD - S. SUDAN, AZANDE TRIBE. Box of negatives in envelopes. Nos. 1 - 400
Added Accession Book Entry - [In pencil in column] Catalogue room.
[1966.27.23] G PROFESSOR E. E. EVANS-PRITCHARD; INST. OF SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 51 BANBURY RD. OXFORD - S. SUDAN, AZANDE TRIBE. Box of prints in envelopes, nos. 1 - 400 (prints of negatives in 1966.27.21)

Manual Catalogues [typewritten, entitled "Zande Photographs (E-P)"] - 679. Circumcision dance (Large size) 51/13 (+63)

Notes on card mount m/s pencil - "Torn LHS lower corner RCS or SS (severe) overall"

Other Information:
In The Azande (OUP, 1971) p.113 E. E. Evans-Pritchard notes that 'when Czekanowski carried out his researches in the years 1907-8 circumcision was in process of being introduced and had indeed become so much the fashion that adults were undergoing the operation... It is remarkable that in so short a time the practice had come to be regarded as so much a Zande custom that aboro pito 'the uncircumcised', had become a scornful epithet used in reference to other peoples.... My informants said that it [circumcision] came to them from the Amadi... Mgr Lagae says that the Azande of the south were initiated into the practice by the Mangbetu and the Abarambo, those of the north by the Amadi.' P. Baxter & A. Butt (London AIA, 1953 pages 73-4) discuss C.R. Lagae's published accounts of circumcision among the Azande, noting that it takes place near a stream and away from settlement, the period of seclusion being about two months and the boys residing in specially made huts there. The period is brought to a close with a feast and dancing, after which the boy takes a new name and social position. [Chris Morton 16/10/2003] In The Azande (OUP 1971, page 103) E. E. Evans-Pritchard notes that '[f]rom the south came .. the circumcision dance (gbere agangasi) together with the operation...' [Chris Morton 8/10/2003] In his article 'An Account of the Zande' Sudan Notes and Records (Vol. IX, No. 1, 1926 p.29-30) P.M. Larken notes that 'After a little time, during which the boy goes naked, a short skirt, rather like a ballet dancer's, is made of special strips of fine fibre, about nine inches or a foot in length. A loin cloth cannot be worn until the wound has healed.... Special songs and dances take place in camp. The dance step consists of a sideways twisting of the body from the hips, the feet hardly moving, causing the skirt to swing outwards and make a sort of frill round the loins.'
Christopher Morton 2/12/2003 [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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