Dinka Tuich piece apron

Dinka Tuich piece apron
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
1979.20.61 .1 .2
[Southern Sudan] Northern Bahr el Ghazal Dhangrial
Cultural Group:
Dinka Tuich
Date Made:
By 1979
Goat Skin Animal , Glass , Bead , Animal Hide Skin
Stitched , Strung , Beadwork , Decorated , Repaired (local)
[.1] L = 652, W across top 387, W between ties when apron stretched out = 700, th hide body = 1.7, W across lower body = 255, W between lower corners = 295 mm; side beading band W = 18, lower beading band W = 6 mm. [.2] L = 732, W across top = 490, W betw
596.6 g (.1 and .2 combined].
Local Name:
buong chitak guet
Other Owners:
Purchased by Patti Langton for 4 on 17th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan [RTS 15/6/2004].
Field Collector:
Patti Langton
PRM Source:
Patti Langton
Purchased 1979
Collected Date:
17 February 1979
Girl's dance apron, made from 2 separate pieces of goat skin, one worn at the front [.1] and the other, longer piece worn behind [.2], with the two pieces tied together at the sides. They have been cut to similar shapes, but the back apron is proportionally larger than the front one. Both are a mid brown colour (Pantone Warm Gray 10C).
[.1] consists of an almost rectangular piece of skin cut with a concave upper edge and that extends from the corners to form 2 tapering ties. The body gradually narrows towards its lower part, which has been cut to form short downward 'tails' - one at each corner, and 2 at the centre. A row of neat overlapping hide stitching finishes the top edge of the apron. The borders of the long side edges and base have been decorated with rows of symmetrically arranged beadwork, sewn onto the hide backing. These beads are all of a similar type, with ring-shaped bodies made of opaque glass. The long sides are decorated predominantly with light blue beads (Pantone 636C), alternating with narrower sections of red (Pantone 199C). These have been sewn in place using a thin hide cord, onto which groups of 4 beads have been strung at a time, before the needle passes back through the skin again, with the thread running horizontally to and fro across the body in a continuous line. The result is a border made of from 2 to 3 adjacent bands, each composed of these short beaded sections. The bottom edge of the apron has been decorated in a similar fashion, but with a single band made up entirely of red beads. The underside of the apron is largely plain, but there is an impressed pattern along the edges, corresponding with the location of these beads. This piece is complete, except for a very small hole through the hide body, which has not been repaired,, and 2 broken section of beading along the bottom edge, where at least 4 red beads appear to be missing.

[.2] The shape of the back apron mirrors that of its partner, but is slightly larger. The top edge has been finished in the same way, with similar stitching running down at least part of one side as well. Both long sides have been decorated with the same pattern of long blue beaded sections alternating with shorter red beaded ones, but in this case, the beadwork is 4 rather than 3 bands wide. At its base, a single band of opaque green beads runs around the lower edge (Pantone 359C). There are some creases across the body, and 4 repairs at different places across the body, where tears have been sewn together, including an oval repair near the upper edge, and 4 further holes that have not been mended. One of the green beaded sections has come away from its lower edge, but no beads appear to be missing, and the apron is otherwise complete.

The 2 pieces have a total weight of 596.6 grams. [.1] has a length of 652 mm, and measures 387 mm across the top of the body, or 700 mm when measuring between the outstretched ties, while the lower body measures 255 mm across, and 295 between its stretched out lower corners; the hide body is 1.7 mm thick, the beaded sides bands are 18 mm wide, and the beading around the lower edge is 6 mm in width. [.2] is 732 mm long, and measures 490 mm across its upper edge, or 705 mm between the ties; the lower body is 320 mm wide, and measures 380 mm between the lower corners. The hide body is 1.7 mm thick, the side beading band is 27 mm wide and the lower beading band is 6 mm wide. The beads on both apron pieces are of similar dimensions; a typical example has a diameter of 2.1 mm and a thickness of 1.5 mm.

Purchased by Patti Langton at Dhangrial for £4 on 17th February 1979 as part of the British Institute in Eastern Africa's Expedition to the Southern Sudan. Dhangrial is located within Northern Bahr el Ghazal. For a map showing the distribution of Dinka Tuich groups, see J. Ryle, 1982,
Warriors of the White Nile: The Dinka , p. 25.

This set of aprons is worn with the longer piece at the back, but are rarely used, except by girls during dances. They are known locally as
buong chitak guet. Nebel defines the term buòng, pl. buong, as ‘apron-skin, dress for women’ and Guët, pl. gueet as ‘bead’ (Nebel 1979, Dinka-English Dictionary, p. 17 and 33). He does not list the word chitak .

Rachael Sparks 23/08/2005.

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 alottment of the collection do not appear on her list and have been added here. See Related Documents file as well. [p. 191] 1979.20.43-135 SOUTHERN SUDAN the DINKA TUICH. The Dinka Tuich, a pastoral people, live to the north of Wau, in Bahr el Ghazal province. This collection was made mostly at Dhangrial, the archaeological site at which we camped. Other artifacts were collected either at Wun Rog, a small town about a mile south of Dhangrial, or at Mayen, the new administrative centre 12 miles north. This was a remote area, difficult of access and rarely visited by outsiders. The Dinka are very aware of the potential of money, which is used either to help family members acquire education or entry into commerce and administration in Juba or Khartoum. Once it was known we [insert] (the collectors) [end insert] were offering money, the Dinka in surrounding compounds came daily, increasing prices as often as they could! [p. 193] 1979.20.61, [1979.20] .62 Women's goatskin skirts, buong chitak guet ; decorated with beads. The longer piece is worn at the back. These are rarely worn today except by girls when dancing. [1979.20] .61 Center [sic] L = 53 cm. Coll. in Dhangrial, 17.2.79; £4 each. Coll. no. 132.
Additional Accession Book Entry [below accession number in red biro] - A5-F34-32.

Card Catalogue Entry - There is no further information on the catalogue card [RTS 19/2/2004].

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 [RTS 12/1/2004].

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