Southern Larim flute

Southern Larim flute
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Loryok
Cultural Group:
Southern Larim
Made by a boy.
Date Made:
By March 1979
Wood Plant , Bamboo Plant?
Carved , Hollowed , Perforated , Stained , Decorated , Incised
L = 262; mouth diam = 24 x 22; embouchure diam = 17 x 15; finger-hole diam = 8, L from edge lowest hole to distal end = 55; diam distal hole = 10 mm [RTS 9/9/2005].
55.2 g
Other Owners:
Purchased by Jill Goudie for 25 piastres from the base camp at Loryok for the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan, headed by Patti Langton, between 20th and 25th March 1979 [RTS 12/5/2004].
Field Collector:
Jill Goudie
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
20 - 25 March 1979
End-blown flute carved from a single piece of lightweight wood and then hollowed out. The distal end appears to have been cut just before a node, suggesting that this has been taken from material with a segmented body, such as bamboo. The instrument consists of slightly oval embouchure with flat topped lip and a deep u-shaped notch cut into one side, on a straight cylindrical body. This has been shaved flat down one side, in alignment with the notched lip, with four equally spaced finger-holes cut along the lower part; the flat surface stops just before the distal end, which has been perforated. The surface of the wood has been stained a reddish brown colour (Pantone 476C), and decorated with incised lines that were probably applied after staining, as they do not expose the lighter yellow colour of the subsurface wood. The design consists of a triangle on a horizontal line around the upper body, then 4 zigzags, regularly spaced between the finger-holes, 2 parallel lines, a zigzag, a further line around the body and then traces of a final zigzag, which has partially worn away. The flute is complete and intact, and has a weight of 55.2 grams. It is 362 mm long; the mouth measures 24 by 22 mm and the embouchure 17 by 15 mm; the finger-holes have a diameter of 8 mm, with the edge of the lowest being 55 mm from the distal end; the hole in the distal end has a diameter of 10 mm.

Purchased by Jill Goudie for 25 piastres at Loryok sometime between 20th and 25th March 1979, for the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan, directed by Patti Langton.

This flute was made by a boy, who played this for his own amusement, or to girls. According to Langton, the Larim do not usually have musical instruments, and their most important musical outlet is in singing. For a lightweight end-blown flute of similar design, attributed to the Jur, see 1934.8.105.

Rachael Sparks 19/9/2005.

Primary Documentation:
Accession Book Entry - [p. 185] 1979.20 (.1 - 206) P[urchase] MISS PATTI LANGTON, DEPT. of ETHNOLOGY & PREHISTORY, OXFORD. Collection made by Patti Langton during the British Institute in East Africa's expedition to the Southern Sudan; Jan. - April 1979. The collection was made in three culture areas during the dry season. The amount paid for each object is listed if the information is known. In Jan. 1979 £1 is equivalent to 95 piastres (pt.) Sudanese. This documentation is based largely upon Patti's own list of objects and her notes on these. Sometimes objects included in the Pitt Rivers alootment of the collection do not appear on her list and have been added here. See Related Documents file as well. [p. 204] 1979.20.136 - 193 SOUTHERN SUDAN the LARIM The Larim live about 50 miles west of Kapoeta in the eastern corner of S. Sudan. They are a non-Nilotic pastoral people, living in permanent mountain villages. They are part of the Didinga-Longarim-Murle language group. They live in the Boya Hills - Boya is the Topasa (neighbouring group) name for the Larim, which is also used by the Administration. Longarim is the Didinga's name for them but they call themselves the Larim, and that is used here. [p. 205] The LARIM The collection was made in two parts. The "PL" labelled material was collected during Pat Langton's stay in a village in the Northern Larim area. The "∆" labelled material was collected by Jill Goudie, one of the archaeologists on the Expedition, from the base camp LARYOK, among the Southern Larim. Money is known among the Larim but it is used only for buying beads for women from Kapoeta, or for the few members of the group who would go to Juba. The women especially were more interested in exchange gifts of salt, cloth & soap. The Larim material is documented in three parts: a) General Larim pieces - no information as to which section of the Larim it comes from b) the "PL" Collection from the Northern Larim, from three of the eight Northern Larim clans c) the Southern Larim material collected by Jill Goudie, numbered "∆". [p. 210] 1979.20.163 - 193 SOUTHERN LARIM: Collected by Jill Goudie between 20.3 and 25.3.79 [p. 211] 1979.20.175 Bamboo flute, made by a boy. Supposedly he played this for himself, or to girls. But the Larim do not usually have musical instruments, and there are myths about their lack of drums. Their most important musical outlet is in singing. L = 36.2 cm.; Diam. bottom hole = 2.3 cm. Section [Drawing, subrectangular or ovoid form] Coll. no. ∆26; cost 25 pt.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F36-5.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 26/5/2004].

Pitt Rivers Museum label - AFRICA, Sudan, Loryok. Southern Larim. Bamboo end-blown flute, made by a boy. P. Langton coll. 26 [in a triangle], 1979.20.175 [plastic coated label, tied to object; RTS 9/9/2005].

Written on object - 1979.20.175. S. SUDAN, S. LARIM. P. Langton coll. 26 [in a triangle] [RTS 1/9/2005].

Related Documents File - 1979.20 contains a typed packing list, which has been annotated; a typed list of objects arranged by Langton collection numbers and with pencil and biro annotations, and a handwritten list of objects by museum number, essentially repeating this information and annotated with PRM photo numbers in red. This handwritten list seems to be the direct source for the accession book entry. This item appears in Langton's list under the heading 'Southern Larim. These were all collected between 20.3.79 and 25.3.79' as 'bamboo flute, made by a boy. Said not to be typical, he plays for himself while walking, or to girls. Certainly the Larim appeared to have no musical instruments, and myths surrounding their lack of ddrums. Their main and important musical outlet is in singing (apart from hunting whistles see 27)' [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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