Nuer colwic ceremony

Nuer colwic ceremony
84 x 57 mm (3.25 x 2.25 inch) | Print gelatin silver
There are records relating to alternative images that we do not have scans for in the database:
1998.355.331.1 - Negative film nitrate , (84 x 57 mm (3.25 x 2.25 inch))
bend upper right hand side [Chris Morton 6/7/2004]
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
?02 7

Accession Number:
A dark image at sunset of women gathered in a garden area to brew beer as part of a ceremony for the spirit of a girl called Nyakewa, killed by lightning. In later images a shrine (riek) consisting of an mound of earth surrounded by offerings of tobacco with a sapling of the nyuot tree planted in the centre can be seen. 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 is made by all relatives, and a special shrine erected with offerings.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1936 October - November
[Southern Sudan] Wahda Nyueny
Nuer Leek Karlual
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
Religion , Ritual , Food and Drink
[Shrine] , Vessel
Brewing , 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 VII, ms ink] - 68.
Colwic ceremony (?)

Note on print reverse ms pencil - "W. Nuer" & print front border ms ink - "NUER VII/68"

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 [6/7/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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