Nuer shrine

Nuer shrine
56 x 54 mm | Print gelatin silver
Date of Print:
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Accession Number:
A riek or shrine placed in the centre of a homestead consisting of an earthern mound with a forked branch emerging from the summit, upon which is seated a man smoking a pipe and another standing beside him wearing thiau armbands carrying a stick or club and with mud plastered hair. Near the riek are tethered some cattle, and beyond is a beehive-style hut. The riek post-shrine was considered to be the altar of God within the home, the point of contact between God and spirits (both kwoth) and the lineage or household, and therefore the place of ceremony and sacrifice.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
[Southern Sudan] Wahda
Nuer Western Jikany
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
Religion , Shelter
Shrine , Pipe , Building House
Original catalogue lists in Manuscript Collections. Additional material in related documents files. [CM 27/9/2005]
Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry: [p. 98] 1966.27 [1 - 24] G[ift] PROFESSOR E. E. EVANS-PRITCHARD; INST. OF SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 51 BANBURY RD. OXFORD 1966.27.17 S. SUDAN. NUER TRIBE. Box of negatives each in separate envelope, labelled. (some missing). Nos. 1 - 213. (prints in box 1966.27.18)...1966.27.18 S. SUDAN. NUER TRIBE. Box of prints each in separate envelope. Nos. 1 - 213. (negatives in 1966.27.17.)

Note on print reverse ms pencil - "5 W. Jik."

Other Information:
In The Nuer (Oxford University Press, 1940) page 114, E. E. Evans-Pritchard notes that 'They think then of God looking after their home in a special way, of being particularly attached to it so that he then becomes, as it were, in a special sense the family's God, a household God. The shrine, a forked post, is the altar of God within the home, God of the hearth, as well as being associated with any of his particular representations-totemic, colwic, air-spirits, &c.-in which he may stand in a tutelary relationship to the lineage or family of the owner of the homestead, and also with the ancestral ghosts. He is spoken of in this domestic representation as kwoth rieka, God of the post (shrine).' [Chris Morton 22/4/2004] The same shrine with the same individuals near it is reproduced as Plate VI (facing page 152) in E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Nuer Religion (OUP 1974 [1956]) with the caption 'Riek shrine'. [Chris Morton 22/4/2004]
Christopher Morton [22/4/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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