Nuer colwic shrine

Nuer colwic shrine
56 x 54 mm | Print gelatin silver
There are records relating to alternative images that we do not have scans for in the database:
1998.355.178.1 - Negative film nitrate , (58 x 55 mm )
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
6 [2]

Accession Number:
A colwic shrine for a girl called Nyakewa killed by lightning set in the garden area behind the homestead in which she lived, with a ritual firescreen or buor constructed next to it. It consists of an mound of earth surrounded by offerings of tobacco with a sapling of the nyuot tree planted nearby, and other offerings and parts of sacrificial animals attached to a shrine-post in the centre of the mound. Nyakewa was considered to have become a colwic, a spirit taken directly by God. This specific intervention by the divine was considered so dangerous to all associated with the deceased that sacrifice was made by all relatives, and the special shrine erected.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1936 October - November
[Southern Sudan] Wahda Nyueny
Nuer Leek Karlual
There would seem to be two Rolleiflex films identified as no. 6 in the Nuer series, which I have identified based upon differences in the handwritten style of enumerating the number 6 on the print reverses, as well as on visual content. [CM 26/10/2007]
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
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 1966.27.1-16 S. SUDAN. NUER TRIBE. Sixteen negative albums containing negatives and prints of photographs taken by donor during field-work. All listed in albums. Added Accession Book Entry - [p. 98 in right hand column, in pencil] Catalogue room.

Manual Catalogues [index taken from album book IV, ms ink] - 60.
Colwic shrine

Note on print reverse ms pencil - "6 Col wic" & print front border ms ink - "NUER IV/60"

Other Information:
In E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957]), page 56-7, he notes that 'I had the opportunity in 1936 to witness this ceremony when it was held for a girl called Nyakewa, the daughter of Rwacar, among the western Nuer. During the afternoon the women of the village collected in the garden of the dead girl's home to make beer... The ceremony began in the late afternoon in the homestead where Nyakewa was killed, that of her mother Nyaruithni and of her brother Malith, an uninitiated boy... The master of ceremonies then erected a riek, a shrine-stake, in the centre of the funeral mound and planted at the side of the mound a sapling of the nyuot tree.. The nyuot tree is, as we have noted, associated with the spirit col and also with rain and with the sky from which rain and lightning come and to which the soul of the dead person has gone.' In Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957]), page 59, E-P mentions that the colwic ceremony for Nyakewa took place in the same village as the possession of Galuak by the spirit nai, an event that took place during E-P's fieldwork in Nyueny village among the Karlual in 1936. [Chris Morton 16/6/2004]
Christopher Morton [15/6/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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