Didinga or Larim necklet

Didinga or Larim necklet
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Didinga Larim [Longarim] [Narim]
Date Made:
By 1940
Ostrich Eggshell Bird , Plant Fibre , Plant Seed , Bead
Chip Carved , Perforated , Twisted , Strung , Tied
L = 189, disc beads (smallest) diam = 7.7, th =1 (largest), diam = 9.8, th = 2, diam hole = 2.5 mm; black seed L = 13.4, W = 12.5, th = 11.6, cord diam = 2.5 mm [RTS 2/3/2005].
41.7 g
Other Owners:
Samuel P. Powell
Field Collector:
Samuel P. Powell
PRM Source:
Samuel P. Powell
Loaned July 1940
Collected Date:
By 1940
Neck ornament consisting of a length of twisted plant fibre cord, tied in a knot at the top; this is a light brown colour (Pantone 465C). A series of 204 white ostrich eggshell disc-shaped beads have been threaded onto this, each pierced through the centre with a medium-sized thread hole. A single black, almost spherical seed with flattened areas around the sides has been perforated and threaded in the middle of this group (Pantone black 6C). The necklace is complete and intact, but the beads are encrusted with dirt and red ochre, and some have stuck together. The necklace has a weight of 41.7 grams, and is 189 mm long, as strung; the disc beads vary slightly in size and are not perfectly graded along the length; a typical smaller example has a diameter of 7.7 mm and is 1 mm thick; the larger versions have a typical diameter of 9.8 mm, are 2 mm thick and have a thread hole diameter of 2.5 mm. The black seed is 13.4 mm long, 12.5 mm wide and 11.6 mm thick, while the cord has a diameter of 2.5 mm.

Collected by Samuel P. Powell from the 'southern border' of the Sudan and loaned to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1940. This type of neck ornament was used by both the Didinga and 'Boya'. The latter should more properly be known as the Larim, which is what they call themselves; Boya is a name given to them by the administration and neighbouring Toposa, while the Didinga call them the Longarim. They are a non-Nilotic, pastoral group that now live in permanent mountain villages, and are part of the Didinga-Longarim-Murle language group (see the entry for 1979.20.188, and http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=LOH).

The ostrich eggshell beads used in this object may have been made by chipping the material to the correct size then boring a hole through it, after soaking the eggshell in water to prevent the material splitting. Several partially worked beads could then be strung together and the edges ground to finish them off. It was possible to make around one hundred beads of this kind per day (M. Carey, 1986,
Beads and Beadwork of East and South Africa, p. 9).

For an almost identical ornament, see 1940.7.072.

Rachael Sparks 14/9/2005

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry [Loans II, p. 308] - ESTATE OF S.P. POWELL, C/O N.H. HASLAM, Esq. Manager, Westminster Bank, Stony Stratford, Bucks. Collected by himself. Data from his labels and notes. [p. 312] From the DIDIGNA (DODINGA) tribe, ANGLO-EGYPTIAN SUDAN (southern border). 1940.7.072-.073 - [1 of] 2 necklaces of ostrich-egg-shell discs (DIDINGA and BOYA).

Card Catalogue Entry - A.E. SUDAN, SOUTHERN BORDER, DIDINGA (DODINGA) TRIBE (also BOYA). 1940.7.072-073. Two necklaces of ostrich eggshell beads (discs). S.P. Powell col. Lent by his executors [RTS 12/2/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Necklace made of ostrich egg-shell discs BOYA + DIDINGA. (Nilotic tribes) (Border of UGANDA (?) ANGLO-EGYPTIAN SUDAN S.P. Powell 1940.7.073 [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 22/7/2005]

Related Documents File - Appears on undated typed list: [insert] 1940.7.072-073 [end insert] - "2 Didinga or Boya necklaces made from ostrich egg shell". List is annotated by hand on back: "List of Curios" and "Far from complete" [RTS 16/12/2003].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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