Moru archer's guard

Moru archer's guard
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Azumvuba
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1933
Animal Hide Skin
L = 116 mm, W = 66.3 mm, ht = 24.5 mm [RTS 9/3/2004].
114 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife on 26th April 1933 during a shooting expedition
Field Collector:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton & Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Brayton)
PRM Source:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton
Donated 1934
Collected Date:
26th April 1933
Archer's accessory, used to protect the right hand while drawing back the bow string. This consists of a single strip of hide, 24 mm in width, coiled twice around itself to form an oval loop, with one end on the inner and the other on the outer face. The overall thickness of the body of is therefore least at this point, where these two ends 'meet'. The strip is held in shape by a series of hide stitches going through the body; these are arranged in three rows around the circumference, with two incised lines between them, that may be both functional - to seat the bow string - and decorative. The surface is a dark glossy brown (Pantone black 7C) and may have been coated or treated. Complete and intact. Length across loop 116 mm, width across loop 66.3 mm, height 24.5 mm, thickness of doubled hide strip 16.5 mm; thickness of single strip 7 mm, width of stitches 3 mm. Its weight is approximately 114 grams.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Azumvuba on 26th April 1933 during a shooting expedition. Azumvuba is thought to be located near the town of Mongalla.

The Moru name for this type of object is given as driba, and it was worn on the right hand while drawing the bow string . A similar type of archer's ring is in the Berlin Museum; the collector attributed this to the Nuer, but Evans-Pritchard has suggested that this is incorrect (R. Boccassino, 1960, "Contributo allo studio dell'ergologia delle popolazioni Nilotiche e Nilo-camitiche, parte prima", Annali Lateranensi XXIV, fig. 100b, pp 381-2 and note 7). For a Moru bow and arrow, collected at the same time, see 1934.8.32-33.

Currently on display in the Upper Gallery, case 72B. A photograph in the museum's collection, probably taken by Powell-Cotton, shows a Moru man using a similar object to draw back a bow; this was once on display with the actual object, but is now in the photographic archives (see photograph 1998.208.48.7).

Rachael Sparks 6/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [p. 248] 1934 [insert] 8 [end insert] - MAJOR P. H. G. POWELL-COTTON , Quex Park, Birchington, E. Kent. Specimens collected by himself & Mrs Cotton, during hunting trips, 1933, viz: [...] [p. 250] From the MORU tribe, MONGALLA & AZUMVUBA [insert] 34 [end insert] - Annular wrist-guard bow-string puller, driba , of sewn hide, ib[idem] [AZUMVUBA] (ib[idem]) [818].
Additional Accession Book Entry [p. 249] - 1934.8.34 Number given TL Diam 115 mm [red biro] A22.F2.30-31.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the tribes catalogue card [RTS 2/6/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label [in Related Documents File] - Driba, archer's ring for drawing the bow-string. Worn on right hand. MORU tribe, AZUMVUBA, WHITE NILE, 5°17' N., 30°13' E. 26.4.1933. d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934 [Rectangular metal edged tag, stored in RDF; MdeA 27/7/2005]

Related Documents File - Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Moru Tribe". This object appears as item 818: "Bow, wood, round, bound lizard skin , 5'3 1/2", native name Koosoo , gut string, 1 arrow, leaf shaped 2'7", native name Atoo, Leather protecting ring, native name Driba, 26/4/33 Azumvooba, 5.17 N 30.13 E". Also contains details of a cine film 'some tribes of the Southern Sudan', taken by Powell-Cotton during this 1933 expedition, copies of which are now in the National Film and Television Archive and the Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent [RTS 14/3/2005].

Display History:
Once displayed with an accompanying photograph showing a Moru man drawing back a bow with the use of a driba on his right hand (see photographic archives accession number 1998.208.48.7). The photograph probably came from Powell-Cotton himself, to illustrate the objects sent, and was mounted on wooden board with a hand-written label in Henry Balfour's writing; it is likely to have been mounted for display in the museum sometime between 1934 and 1939, and was probably removed during the upper gallery bow redisplay in the late 1980s or early 1990s, at which time it was transferred to the Museum's Photograph Collections. [CM 7/9/2005]. Current display label - SUDAN, EQUATORIA, AZUMVUBA, MORU. Stout hide ring, driba, worn on the right hand for drawing the bowstring. Donated by Major Powell-Cotton. 1934.8.34 [in case U.72.B; RTS 10/3/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
Help | About | Bibliography