Lango head ornament

Lango head ornament
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
North of Lake Kyoga
Cultural Group:
Date Made:
By 1925
Paste Glass , Synthetic , Bead , Plant Fibre
Twisted , Strung , Knotted , Moulded
L = 380, ext. diameter when opened = 167; small bead diam = 2, th = 1 to 1.5 mm; larger beads diam = 5.3, th = 4 mm [RTS 30/6/2005].
19.4 g
Other Owners:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Field Collector:
Jack Herbert Driberg
PRM Source:
Jack Herbert Driberg
Donated 1925
Collected Date:
By 1925
Head ornament worn by women around the forehead. This consists of 4 strands of fine twisted plant fibre, threaded with groups of alternating tiny opaque white and translucent green glass ring beads (Pantone 347C). The strands are linked to each other at the junctions where these colours meet, which are also marked by a short length of single alternating beads in the two colours, and and a short tassel with 2 strings of 3 beads each (green, white and then green). There are 10 such junctions around the circumference of the chaplet, although in 2 places it looks like one half of the tassel has been lost. The ends of the multi stranded parts meet together with a knot, which would be placed at the back of the head, with a single yellow spherical glass bead with flat moulded rib around the centre (Pantone 101C), and then 5 strings hanging down from this point. Each hanging strand has been strung with alternating groups of 1 or 2 green and white beads, followed by a long central group of white beads, then the alternating colours again at the base. The ends are marked with 2 small opaque red ring beads (Pantone 187C) flanking a larger spherical glass bead, 4 in an opalescent orangey white (Pantone 1555C), and 1 in opaque royal blue (Pantone 287C). These larger beads are of the same type as the yellow bead mentioned above. The composition is therefore very symmetrical, although there are occasional colour substitutions; some of the white beads have a slight bluish colour, and there is some variation in the tone of the green beads. The object is complete, except for the possibly missing tassels, with a weight of 19.4 grams. It has a length of 380 mm, and a diameter of 167 mm when pulled into a circle. The smaller beads measure 2 mm in diameter and are from 1 to 1.5 mm thick; the larger beads have a diameter of 5.3 mm and are 4 mm thick.

Collected by Jack Herbert Driberg in the area north of Lake Kioga, Uganda, and presented to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1925.

In his book on the Lango, Driberg describes how such bands were worn around the forehead, just above the eyebrows, fastening at the back of the head (J.H. Driberg, 1923,
The Lango , p. 62). For photographs showing similar objects being worn, see T.T.S. Hayley, The Anatomy of Lango Religion and Groups, 1947, pl. I.

This object is said to have been made up of trade beads. The larger beads with a flat raised mid section appear on a number of Ugandan and Sudanese objects, including ornaments made by the Lango (1940.7.081.2), Labwor (1940.7.049) and Latuka (1934.8.62, 1934.8.66, 1934.8.76). This type of bead also appears in Arkell's collection of trade bead sample cards (see 1971.15.195, 1971.15.196 and 1971.15.257; the cards were purchased in Omdurman and El Fasher, and the beads shown on them were made in Jablonec nad Nisou in the Czech Republic. These beads are probably made of glass paste, not plastic, using the process known as 'prosser-moulding', a technique that moulds a milk-paste under high pressure then fires it, giving the appearance of glass or porcelain, but actually being a synthetic material. These types of beads were made in France, Germany and the Czech Republic (see Picard, R and J. 1995. 'Prosser Beads: The French Connection', Ornament 19.2, pp 68-71.

Rachael Sparks 22/08/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 189] - 1925 [pencil insert] 14 [end insert] J.H. DRIBERG , Esq. c/o the Postmaster, Khartoum. Specimens collected by himself among the LANGO tribe in the UGANDA PROTECTORATE, N. of LAKE KIOGA. Viz: [...] 1925.206, 207 [pencil insert] 10-11 [end insert] - [1 of] 2 Chaplets of trade-bead strings, worn by women round the brow.
Additional Accession Book Entry [VII, p. 25 top, in pencil] - blue numbers not valid & not on specimens. Inserted by an assistant in error. [page oppoiste 189] 1925.14.10 Number given; green and white trade beads.

Card Catalogue Entry
- There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 24/5/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Brow chaplet worn by women. LANGO tribe, UGANDA PROTECTORATE (N. of L. KIOGA). Pres. by J.H. Driberg, 1925. [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 31/5/2005]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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