Nuer fertility ceremony

Nuer fertility ceremony
56 x 54 mm | Print gelatin silver
stained right hand side [20/11/86 EE]
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:
Previous Other Number:
4 [1]

Accession Number:
At the closed door of a grass hut a female diviner leans forward to talk to the occupants, a young married couple. The ceremony, known as gorot, was done to ensure that a child would be born to the couple even though she had been married at an early age, probably before menstruation. The Nuer believe that the payment of cattle for marriage in such circumstances may cause barreness unless a gorot ceremony is carried out. Other women at the frame edges evince the presence of onlookers and the fieldworker's position among them - it was difficult for Evans-Pritchard to raise the Rolleiflex high enough to avoid some obscuring either side, and his physical circumspection around the ceremony is thereby accentuated.
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Date of Photo:
1936 October - November
[Southern Sudan] Wahda ?Nyueny village
Nuer ?Leek Karlual
There are 18 Rolleiflex exposures labeled as film number '4' – comparison of the number 4s on the print reverse however shows that they fall into two sets of nine negatives, the gorot series and another series. [CM 19/10/2007]
PRM Source:
Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
Donated 1966
Other Owners:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard Collection
Ritual , Shelter
Building House
Ritual Activity
Ceremony Fertility
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 II, ms ink] - 53.
ngorot ceremony

Note on print reverse ms pencil - "4 gorok" & print front border ms ink - "NUER II/54"

Other Information:
In Nuer Religion (Oxford University Press 1974 [1957], page 217-8, E. E. Evans-Pritchard describes the ceremony he witnessed in some detail. In particular he notes that 'When a girl is espoused early in life, probably before the commencement of the menses, the premature payment of bridewealth may cause her to be barren unless a special ceremony is performed. In western Nuerland, where I saw it, it is called gorot.. An ox was thrown and its forelegs and back legs tied in pairs. It was then slowly suffocated, grass being first pushed up its anus with a stick, and then into its mouth and nostrils (Plate III).' [Chris Morton 1/7/2004]
Christopher Morton [25/5/2004] [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
Help | About | Bibliography