Beli rain-making shrine

Beli rain-making shrine
103 x 75 mm | Print gelatin silver
Silver sulphide staining/mark left hand side/fading [EE 1989]
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
63 2 [frame 7]

Accession Number:
A notched forked branch shrine (called heri) set within a homestead, used in rain-making ritual by Totio the Beli rain-maker with a raised granary beyond. At the base of the shrine are two metal spear-heads (called me ngeri "spears of the chief") and some pot sherds, under which is kept a rain-stone (a polished stone axe-head about 1.5 inches long), said to be the only one in Beli country. Such stones are associated with thunder, hence their Beli name pamu or nyolimu liri - the teeth or hammer of thunder. Evans-Pritchard visited Totio's homestead on April 4th during the dry season, and was given a demonstration of the efficacy of special horns blown by the rain-maker, after which rain unexpectedly fell.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1929 April 4
[Southern Sudan] El Buheyrat Toinya
Beli [Rumbek Jur]
In C.G. & B. Seligman's Pagan Tribes of the Nilotic Sudan (London, Routledge 1932, page 476) they refer to unpublished notes made by Evans-Pritchard, stating that '[t]he Beli rain-making shrine (called heri ) consists of a forked pole with one notch in it and a fragment of rope hanging from the notch. At its base are two ordinary spear-heads, lying by some turned-down potsherds. These are called me ngeri "spears of the chief", but they are not considered to be older than Tio, the father of the present rain-maker. Besides these, beneath the same potsherds, is a rain-stone, a small polished stone axe about 1 1/2 inches long, said to be the only rain-stone in the homestead. Such axe-heads are associated with thunder; their Beli names are pamu liri or nyolimu liri , signifying "the teeth of thunder", and "the hammer of thunder" respectively (the ordinary Beli word for stone being pai ).' [Chris Morton 8/3/2004]
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
Religion , Ritual , Ritual Object , Shelter
Shrine , Storage Crop , Building Storage
Primary Documentation:
PRM Accession Records - Accession Book Entry [p. 98] 1966.27 [1 - 24] G[ift] PROFESSOR E. E. EVANS-PRITCHARD; INST. OF SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 51 BANBURY RD. OXFORD - 1966.27.19 - S. SUDAN, DARFUNG. VARIOUS TRIBES. Box of negatives in envelopes, [1 - 242] & 1966.27.20 - Box of prints of these negatives [refers to object 1966.27.19] [1 - 242], in envelopes.

Notes on print/mount - [mech. printed] "2 65" [ms ink] "Bongo" [
NB this is not E-P's handwriting and is evidently a guess] [Chris Morton 8/3/2004]

Notes on card mount m/s pencil - "SSS overall mark lower LHS fading 8.89"
Christopher Morton 8/3/2004 [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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