Nuer sheep sacrifice

Nuer sheep sacrifice
58 x 55 mm | Print gelatin silver
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
64 2 (A163)

Accession Number:
People look on as a man (the 'master of ceremonies') knocks in the tethering peg of a sheep in preparation for its use as a sacrifice to a lion-spirit that had seized a girl of the village and induced hysterics. This is the first stage of the ritual, described by Evans-Pritchard as the 'presentation' or pwot. Castrated sheep and goats were frequently used in sacrifice in place of oxen, with particular care taken to note the way the beast fell, since this could indicate the potential success or failure of the sacrificial purpose.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1935 July
[Southern Sudan] Upper Nile Sobat River Yakwach
Nuer Lou
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 VII, ms ink] - 74. Sacrifice (presentation)

Note on print reverse ms pencil - "64 3 A163" & print front border ms ink - "NUER VII/74"

Other Information:
In E. E. Evans-Pritchard's Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957]), pp. 65, 208, 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... The first act is the pwot, the driving into the ground of a tethering-peg and the tethering of the animal to it. The officiant presents the victim to God. The man who stakes the victim is called pwot yang, the tetherer of the cow, and as in collective sacrifices this is generally done by the master of ceremonies of the family concerned..' [Chris Morton 2/6/2004]
Christopher Morton [6/7/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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