Lotuko necklet

Lotuko necklet
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Navera
Cultural Group:
Lotuko [Otuho]
Date Made:
By April 1933
Palm Nut Plant , Plant Fibre , Glass
Perforated , Stitched , Moulded , Strung , Twisted , Beadwork
L = 580 mm, Nut W = 79.8, th = 52.8 mm; large spherical beads diam = 6, Ht = 6 mm; small spherical beads diam = 3.8; cylindrical beads L = 4, diam = 4.1 mm; ring-shaped beads max diam = 2.7 mm, th = 1.5 mm [RTS 16/9/2004].
228.6 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Hannah Brayton Slater) on 6th April 1933 during a shooting expedition [RTS 15/9/2004].
Field Collector:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton & Hannah Powell-Cotton (nee Hannah Brayton Slater)
PRM Source:
Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton
Donated 1934
Collected Date:
6th April 1933
Neck or upper arm ornament made from a thick plant fibre cord, composed of four strands twisted together. This has been bent into a loop with the ends of this cord knotted together at the top. The body has been knotted part way down each side of the loop, just before it divides into two thinner cords, each composed of two twisted strands. These have been strung with a series of opaque white, yellow (Pantone 106C), light blue (Pantone 7457C) and opalescent peach coloured glass beads (Pantone 728C); the surface of the latter have rubbed away in areas, showing a white body below. Each bead is of the same type and size, with a spherical body and a broad flattened band that runs around the circumference, probably representing a mould line. The arrangement of the different colours is not completely symmetrical, although there is some regularity to the design. Thus one strand has 59 beads in place, and consists primarily of alternating groups of 3 peach and 3 white beads; the adjacent strand also has 59 beads, arranged as alternating peach and white beads at the top, then continuing with alternating white and yellow examples, with the yellow beads mostly in groups of four (but the number of white beads varying considerably); the third strand, with 58 beads on it, has groups of 3 peach and 3 white beads alternating, except where single blue and yellow beads have been added into the design as substitutes for one or the other colour; the fourth strand, with 58 beads, is almost completely white, with two yellow beads near the top.

A large dom palm nut has been strung onto the centre of the necklet and hangs down from the centre of its base as a pendant. The double strands pass through two holes that have been bored through its top. The nut itself is open at the base, revealing a hollow interior, and is a dark brown colour (Pantone black 4C). The outer face of the nut has been decorated with dense beadwork, made from 29 horizontal rows of threaded beads. The base thread has been sewn onto the outer face of the nut, using a series of holes bored down either side. At the centre of the front, the design is held together by vertical stitching; this links each horizontal row but does not actually go through the surface of the nut itself. One row has broken, leaving a short length of beads hanging loose down the side; there is another broken section near the top of the design, although it is not clear where this would have originally joined. There is also a short loose length of beading on either side of the top; these have knots at their base and are probably an intentional feature. The beads themselves are of similar types, with a small ring-shaped body. The majority are opaque white, but these are mixed with smaller numbers of dark blue beads near the top of the design (Pantone 295C), yellow beads in a mass at the centre (Pantone 457C), a few pink beads also at the centre (Pantone 182C) and a couple of red beads (Pantone 186C).

Two rows of holes have been made running along the base edge of the front face of the nut, and a series of cords have been threaded through these to hang down the front of the pendant as a long fringe, made of 75 lengths. Each cord is threaded with similar beads to the front, again, primarily in white, but with some red, dark blue, yellow, pink and sky blue (Pantone 304C) beads mixed in. These beads vary from 1.5 to 2.7 mm in diameter, but each tends to be threaded next to beads of similar size. They are held in place by knots at the base, some with a lump of mud or clay smeared over the top. Several of these knots are missing, and some beads have consequently been lost. 3 loose beads found with the object probably came from this area. In addition, there are two of the larger spherical white beads at the top of 2 of the central fringe strings, and 2 hanging lengths of string threaded with a mix of spherical white, yellow and peach coloured beads, and 5 short cylindrical beads, also made of opaque white glass.

Finally, the area where the tassels are attached to the base of the nut is covered by a horizontal double string of largely dark blue beads, mixed with a few white examples; these are a similar type to the other spherical beads, but a size smaller; they are mixed with dark blue and white short cylindrical beads of matching colour. The necklet and pendant weigh 228.6 grams, and have a total length of 580 mm. The nut is 79.8 mm wide and 52.8 mm thick. The large spherical beads have diameters of 6 mm and are 6 mm high; the smaller spherical beads have diameters of 3.8 mm; the cylindrical beads are 4 mm long and 4.1 mm in diameter, and the ring-shaped beads are up to 2.7 mm in diameter and 1.5 mm thick.

Collected by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton and his wife Hannah at Navera on 6th April 1933, during a shooting expedition.

This object is said to be worn around the neck, and is known as
ekurrok. However a similar object is shown in a photograph of a Lotuko warrior taken by Powell-Cotton in 1933, where it is worn wrapped around the left arm, just above the elbow, with the palm nut and tassels hanging on the outside (C. Spring 1993, African Arms and Armour , fig. 115).

For other uses of these glass beads with broad moulded ribs around the centre amongst the Lotuko, using a similar range of colours, see 1934.8.76 (an arm tassel) and 1934.8.62 (an apron).

An image of this object being conserved was used to illustrate a piece by Penelope Lively in the October 2004 Newsletter of the Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum (issue no. 50), on p. 14, with the caption 'Birgitte Speake examines a beaded object from the Sudan'.

This object is currently on display in the Lower Gallery, case 102C.

Rachael Sparks 24/9/2005.

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. 252] - From the LATUKA tribe, NAVERA, TORIT, LARONYO. [p. 254, insert] 66 [end insert] - Necklet, ekurrok , of strung beads with large palm-nut shell, overlaid & fringed with beads, ib[idem] [NAVERA] (474).

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 28/5/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Ekurrok, necklet. Bead-covered palm-nut. LATUKA, NAVERRA E.SUDAN 4° 30' N., 32 ° 30' E., d.d. Major Powell-Cotton, 1934 (474) [L.Ph 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 7/6/2005]

Related Documents File - Typewritten List of "Curios Presented to Dr. Balfour by Major & Mrs. Powell-Cotton. Tribe Latuka". This object appears as item 474: "Palm nut necklace, white khaki & dark blue beads, sling of white & yellow beads, native name Ekurrok , 6/4/33 Navera, about 4.30 N 32.30 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].

Publication History:
An image of this object being conserved was used to illustrate a piece by Penelope Lively in the October 2004 Newsletter of the Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum (issue no. 50), on p. 14, with the caption 'Birgitte Speake examines a beaded object from the Sudan' [RTS 15/12/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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