Southern Larim flute

Southern Larim flute
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1979.20.176 .1
[Southern Sudan] Eastern Equatoria Loryok
Cultural Group:
Southern Larim
Date Made:
By March 1979
Wood Plant , Animal Hide Skin , Brass Metal , Textile
Carved , Hollowed , Perforated , Bound Plaited , Tied , Recycled
L = 176; embouchure ext. = 26.5 x 22; internal opening diam = 15; finger-hole diam = 1; binding strip W = 5; brass bands (top to distal end) L = 42, 23, and 15 mm; textile loop W = 10, length of looped section = 220 mm [RTS 7/9/2005].
45.1 g
Local Name:
Other Owners:
Purchased by Jill Goudie for 1, 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
Notched end-blown flute carved from a single piece of yellow lodonit wood (Pantone 7509C) with the centre hollowed out. The embouchure has been cut to form slightly concave front and back edges, and is lentoid-shaped in plan view. Unusually, there is no added wax inside the embouchure to guide or control the breath. The body is straight, and tapers to its distal end, which has been cut flat and burnt black; there is a very small finger-hole at the centre. The upper body has been bound round with narrow strips of brown animal hide (Pantone 7505C), some with traces of hair preserved on the surface, the ends of which are woven together into a plaited rib formed from a vertical hide strip that has been threaded through a small hole at the side of the embouchure, then runs down one side of the body. The horizontal binding is flat, except for the lowest strip, which has been twisted tightly along its length. 2 small horizontal loops have been worked into the plaited rib, each composed of similar strips with an outer binding. These are used to attach a suspension loop, made from a strip of recycled stretchy red fabric with fine ribbing (Pantone 1797C). The ends of this strip have been knotted together, then the doubled fabric was threaded up through both suspension rings, opening out into a loop at the top. This method of attachment allows the flute to hang down vertically from the loop, rather than horizontally. The lower part of the instrument body has been covered with brass cylinders, made from 3 recycled cartridges left over from the war, leaving only narrow gaps between (Pantone 871C). The object is essentially complete, but the hide surface is damaged in places, and there is some corrosion from the brass staining the wood. It has a weight of 45.1 grams, and a length of 176 mm. The embouchure measures 26.5 by 22 mm across its outside edges, and 15 by 15 mm across the internal opening; the finger-hole is tiny, and has a diameter of only 1 mm. The hide binding is made from strips that are 5 mm wide; the cartridge bands are 42 mm, 23 mm and 15 mm long respectively, from top to distal end, and the textile loop has a compressed width of 10 mm and an extended length of 220 mm, from the top of the upper suspension ring.

Purchased by Jill Goudie at Loryok, with flute 1979.20.176, for £1 sometime between 20th and 25th March 1979, as part of the the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan, directed by Patti Langton.

This flute is called
teri in Larim; the hide used is said to be that of the bushbuck. It would be played on the way to a hunt - any tune could be used at this time - and after a kill, when each man will play 'his own' tune. The Didinga and Larim similarly make use of specific tunes to identify individuals - see the record for flute 1940.7.071, and also J.H. Driberg, 1923, The Lango, pp 124-125.

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] 1979.20.176 Hunting whistle, teri . Made of Lodonit wood, cartridges leftover from the war, and bushbuck skin. Played by covering the hole in the base; played on the way to the hunt (any tune) and after a kill, when each man will play his own tune. L = 17.1 cm. Coll. no. ∆27. Cost £1.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F36-6.

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

Pitt Rivers Museum label - S. SUDAN. SOUTHERN LARIM. Hunting whistle, teri . P. Langton coll., no 27 [in triangle] 1979.20.176 [plastic label with metal eyelet, tied to object; 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'; this has the information found in the accession book, and further comment that 'Feathers used to oil the interior' [RTS 12/1/2004].

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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