Nuer sheep sacrifice

Nuer sheep sacrifice
56 x 54 mm | Print gelatin silver
Blue crop line left hand side [Chris Morton 20/5/2004]
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
64 2 (A164)

Accession Number:
A man rubs ash on the back of a tethered sheep in preparation for its use as a sacrifice, a ritual that Evans-Pritchard translates as 'consecration'. The rubbing (buk) takes place before an invocation is made, and often a number of speakers may do this before their invocations. Castrated sheep and goats were frequently used in sacrifice in place of oxen, with particular care taken to note the way the beast falls, since this may indicate the success or potential failure of the sacrificial purpose. Evans-Pritchard describes having witnessed a Lou sheep sacrifice at Yakwach for a girl possessed by a lion-spirit, a cow also being dedicated to the spirit to placate it.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1935 July
[Southern Sudan] Upper Nile Sobat River Yakwach
Nuer Lou
Publication History:
Contemporary Publication - Reproduced as Plate VIII (facing page 198) in E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957]) with the caption 'Consecration' [Chris Morton 20/5/2004]
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
Ritual , Animal Gear , Religion
Animal Sheep
Ritual Activity
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 I, ms ink] - 48. Sacrificing sheep - Lou

Note on print reverse ms pencil - "64 2 A164 [numerous printer's marks]" & print front border ms ink - "NUER I/48"
Other Information:
Image context - In E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957]), page 65, he notes that 'While I was living in a cattle camp at the same village of Yakwac...a girl of the lineage was taken hold of by the lion-spirit and had hysterics. Her family sacrificed a sheep to the spirit and dedicated a cow to it, for the seizure was thought to have been due to their failure to dedicate a cow to it earlier; and the girl was restored to her normal self.' [Chris Morton 2/6/2004]
Christopher Morton [20/5/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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