Nuer youth with thiau arm-rings

Nuer youth with thiau arm-rings
170 x 114 mm | Print gelatin silver
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:

Accession Number:
A three-quarter length profile portrait of a standing young man with hair plastered with mud into a single forward facing horn. His left arm is bound with metal rings (thiau), a practice which imitates or complements the practice of training a favourite ox's left horn across the muzzle (ma gut), both of which are often done soon after initiation. This binding is done for some months or even a year or two, and is accompanied by swelling, sores and pain, and renders the left arm useless for the period. During the elaborate telling of compliments to a woman during courtship or at dances, the youth ran a metal ring up and down the arm-rings to produce a sound. In the background can be seen numerous sandbags and a wooden framework structure next to the river, possibly a ferry crossing point for vehicles. This image was probably taken among the Eastern Jikany Nuer by F. D. Corfield, District Comissioner at Nasir on the Sobat River in Upper Nile Province during Evans-Pritchard's fieldwork.
Frank D. Corfield
Date of Photo:
[Southern Sudan] Upper Nile
Nuer ?Eastern Jikany
Publication History:
Contemporary Publication - Reproduced as Plate XII (facing page 234) in E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957]) with the caption 'Youth wearing thiau (arm-rings)'. [CM 2/9/2005]
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection. Probably given to Evans-Pritchard by Frank D. Corfield.
Ornament , Toilet , Transport
Ornament Arm , Ornament Body , Hair
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 - "[numerous printer's marks]"
Christopher Morton [12/5/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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