Report of the Curator of the Pitt-Rivers Museum, 1904
Progress in the Museum has been maintained, and many improvements have been effected during the year. The rate of improvement has, however, been slower than I could wish, and this has been due partly to loss of time which I have incurred through somewhat prolonged ill-health, and partly to my having been obliged to carry out personally all the clerical work of the department, by reason of the lack of an assistant to whom I could delegate the ordinary routine work. This has necessitated my spending the greater portion of my own time upon this routine work, and as, as a consequence, the administration of the Museum and my research work have suffered considerably. It has been impossible under the circumstances to arrange to give courses of lectures upon selected subjects. Informal instrument and demonstrations have been given frequently, and occasional lectures, bearing upon and illustrated by the material contained in the Museum, have been delivered.

The range of wall-cases, a portion of which had previously been erected in the S.E. corner of the Upper Gallery, was continued along the entire length of the S. wall. Two series have already been arranged for exhibition; the remaining space is destined for the series hitherto exhibited upon the screens which formerly occupied the wall. The redisposition of these series involves a great expenditure of time, as every specimen has to be examined carefully, permanently labelled (and in some cases identified), while the cleaning and repairing occupies much of the attendant’s time. Great care is required in the case of specimens which have been for many years exposed upon open screens. When the whole of these series are thus re-exhibited under glass, it is hoped that the process of decay will practically be arrested, and the specimens will be far more accessible for use than has been the case under the old system.

In both Galleries a number of drawer cabinets with glazed doors have been erected underneath the table-cases, and these will be of great use in providing space for specimens, which, while not exhibited to the public, can be kept in proximity to their respective series, and can be classified in connexion with the exhibited specimens, for use as research material. In the Lower Gallery several minor improvements have been effected.

In the Court some considerable changes have been made. The Fire-making series has been rearranged and is much better exhibited than formerly, a newly-built case having been employed, allowing of a better display of this very typical series. The arrangement of the series of ceremonial dancing Masks has been considerably modified, and the examples from the S. Pacific are now grouped together in a separate case. The space allotted in the wall-cases to Musical Instruments has been extended, in order to improve the classification and exhibition of this series, which grows steadily in scientific value, and which now occupies an important and in some ways unique position among the systematic collections of Musical Instruments of the world. To effect this, extensive redistribution of certain other series has been rendered necessary. The series of boat and ship models in the wall-cases on the East side has been concentrated and partly rearranged, and a partial redistribution of the Clothing series has been carried out. In other parts of the Court many improvements of secondary consequence have been made.

The most important event of the year has been the installation of electric light in the Museum, through the generosity of the Executive Committee of the British Medical Association, by whom the complete installation was presented to the University, in recognition of the facilities and hospitality accorded by the University on the occasion of the meeting of the Association held in Oxford during the summer of 1904. The main lighting is effected by four 1000 c.p. arc lamps, controlled in pairs by two switches; and in addition, 48 incandescent lamps, each with separate switch, are disposed on the columns in both Galleries and Court, in order to light the peripheral portions where the shadows are darkest. The system is a very satisfactory one, and so far has worked very well. Efficient working in the Museum after dark has been rendered possible, and the facilities for using the collections have been greatly extended.

An increasing number of people make use of the material comprised within the Museum Collections, both for research and for instruction upon special points. Mr F.W. [sic] Knowles, of Oriel College, has been engaged upon a practical study of the flight of the boomerang, with interesting results, and has received assistance in the Museum, which possesses a fairly extensive collection of Australian and other varieties of boomerangs.

Mr F.C. Carter, M.A., has very kindly helped me by taking numerous photographs of objects in the Museum and in preparing lantern-slides for lecture purposes.

The accessions are numerous and important. Special reference is made to the specimens from the Congo State given by their collector, Mons. Emile Torday, to the finds of local interest given by Mr. W. Evetts of Tackley, and to the collection of Masai objects from Mr. A. C. Hollis, rendered the more valuable by his recently published book on the Masai. Some interesting accessions have been received from the Egypt Exploration Fund Committee, and many rarities have been received from other generous donors. Important purchases have been made, with the help, chiefly, of special grants from the Museum Delegates. Mr. E.F. Martin kindly collected specimens for the Museum in N. Nigeria and through his kindness these were acquired for a small sum, which cannot have represented the outlay expended upon them. The purchase of the second portion of the Rohu collection from N.E. British New Guinea is also included among the year's purchases. It may be said with confidence that, taking the purchases as a whole, the sum expended upon specimens is very small as compared with the actual value and scientific interest of the objects purchased.
A complete list of accessions is appended.

Large stone hand-axe, Fortescue River, N.W. Australia. Presented by Colonel Cusack. Two glass spear-heads, N.W. Australia. Presented by S. H Meares, Esq. Finely-carved yam spatula, S.E. district of British New Guinea. Presented by G. Uvedale Price, Esq., Conservative Club, St. James's Street, S.W. Skutching sword (spadella) for flax, rake made from natural tree branch, distaff and spindle, and 2 samples of flax, Portugal. Presented by S.G. Hewlett, Esq., M.A., Windlesham House, Brighton. Four tokens used in Kentish hop-gardens in keeping accounts with the hop-pickers; fly-whisk, Congo; 3 simple reed instruments of music, Oxfordshire; 2 iron spear-heads showing marked "ogee-section," Saxon, Wangford Warren, Suffolk; 2 poisoned arrows feathered with leaves, Congo State. Presented by the Curator. Five imitation eyes from Peruvian mummies, made from the eyes of cuttlefish. Presented by Prof. H.A. Miers, D.Sc., F.R.S., Magdalen College, Oxford. Wooden holder for scythe-stone, S. Moritz, Switzerland. Presented by Miss E.C. Bell, 30 Egerton Crescent, S.W. Large whistling-arrow and broad-bladed arrow, taken from a pirate junk off the Koolan Islands, S. of Hongkong in 1865. Presented by Dr. A. Barton, F.R.G.S. Syrinx, p'ai-hsiao, from the Temple of Confucius, Soochow, China; rude form of free-reed mouth-organ, ku-kuai, sold to pilgrims at a temple near Nankin, China. Presented by the Rev. F.W. Galpin, M.A., The Vicarage, Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex. Brass 4-wick lamp of Indian make, Singapore; leaden coins, Kelantan, Lower Siamese States; wooden club, New Hebrides; 5 spears and arrow, Central Africa; Malay charm for stealing a woman's soul, Cape Patani, Lower Siamese States; Sakai bamboo zither, Lower Siamese States. Presented by Nelson Annandale, Esq., B.A., Government Museum, Calcutta. Kayan bird-call, bulu wok; fire-making apparatus carved in human form to represent Laki pesong and another not carved, used ceremonially at the naming of a child, Baram district, Sarawak. Presented by C. Hose, Esq., Resident, Baram district. Willow whistle, Germany; tinder made from melocactus, Cura,cao, W. Indies. Presented by Dr. Ernst Hartert, Zoological Museum, Tring. Stone adze, one of 6 found together near Lochmaddy, N. Uist, Hebrides. Presented by H.G. Thomson, Esq., Woodperry, Oxon. Specimens collected in the Congo Free State, viz. iron armlet used as money, Lomanni River; 2 carved chiefs' staves, Baluba, Lake Kissali; small wooden fetish from a Baluba grave, Lukalaba River, Lake Moero; Baluba seat supported by carved figure of a woman, Lukalaba River; Baluba carved female fetish, Lake Kissali; Baluba carved female figure holding a bowl, Lake Moero; Southern Baluba bow and arrows, Lake Moero; Kisansi, musical instrument with vibrating tongues, Bakongo; Baluba ivory whistle, Lake Kissali; Baluba syrinx, Kiambi; wooden call with lateral stop, S. Baluba tribe. Presented by Mons. Emile Torday, Kassai, Congo Free State.  Ten Tasmanian stone implements and flakes; glass spear- head, Cambridge Gulf, W. Australia; 2 spear-heads found in 1883 in a cave on Pitcairn Island, Paumotu Group, S. Pacific. Presented by Engineer-Captain J.J. Walker, R.N., " Aorangi," Lonsdale Road, Summertown. Eighteen minute flint implements (" pigmy flints ") and several fragments from sand-beds near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. Presented by the Rev. R.A. Gatty, M.A., Hooton Roberts Rectory, Rotherham. Two saucer-shaped lamps and 2 pottery saucers, Ancient Carthaginian, Tunis; crusie-lamp of copper and iron, made in Tunis; Wanga necklet worn as a charm by a Mamaloi at La Source, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, W. Indies. Presented by 0. Wardrop, Esq, M.A., British Consulate, S. Petersburg. Pottery figures on a stand, Lima, Peru. Presented by J. Proctor, Esq., London. Two Sea-Dyak fire-pistons of brass and lead, Simanggang Sarawak. Presented by D.I.S. Bailey, Esq., Resident of Simanggang. Four models of "dug-out" boats still in use in Hungary Presented by Dr. Carl von Than, Budapest. Cleverly constructed box of birch-bark, Kamschatka. Presented by Dr. F.H.H. Guillemard, Cambridge. Five flint implements of Palaeolithic type, El Khargeh Oasis, Egypt; worked flint showing sand-erosion, ib.; large flint blade, probably of later date, ib.; ovate implement of palaeolithic type, found between El Khargeh and the Nile 3 pieces of modern pottery showing ancient decorative methods Naqada, Egypt. Presented by A.C. Mace, Esq. Small carved-wood human figure, W. Africa. Presented by Mrs. H.N. Moseley, Oxford. A number of flint arrow-heads, lance-heads, saws, celts, &c. from the Fayûm, Egypt; 8 neolithic axes and a hammer stone with pits for the fingers, from the Banda district of Central India. Presented by H. W. Seton-Karr, Esq., 31 Lingfield Road, Wimbledon, Several rude palaeolithic implements, fragments and flakes from the gravels at New Iffley, Oxon, and 2 flint implements of later date from the surface; phallic hand of glass, probably from Italy. Presented by A.M. Bell, Esq., M.A., Rawlinson Road, Oxford. Musical instrument, sansa, Old Calabar; small pair of shoes China; wooden ladle, spoon, cup, and bowl, made by Zulus S. Africa; 2 ivory ankle-rings taken from the bodies of dead slaves by a search party in the " Investigator " on the Niger River in 1865 Presented bv W. Fingland, Esq., 61 Rodney Street, Liverpool. Cane-work charm bag overlaid with shell rings; another used for bewitching people to death; charm in palm-leaf roll; collected by Rev. Dr. Welchman from a pigmy head-hunting people in the interior of Ysabel Island, Solornon Islands. Presented by the Bishop of Melanesia, Norfolk Island, through Mr. Andrew Lang. Ten scrapers of coconut husk used for removing the kernel, Nicobar Islands; Puppet figure hung up in houses and hotels during Lent, S. Italy. Presented by Col. Sir R.C. Temple, Bart., The Nash, Worcester. Prick-spur of eleventh century type; bronze celt with loop and flanges; neolithic celt; worked flint flake partly ground; 20 flint arrow-heads; numerous scrapers and other flint implements and flakes. Found in the neighbourhood of Tackley, Oxon. Presented by W. Evetts, Esq., Wood Farm, Tackley. Specimen illustrating the elaborate hair-dressing adopted by the Mashukulumbwe on the Kapue River, Northern Rhodesia. Presented by Louis E. Tylor, Esq., Hartley, Rhodesia. Two Mahdist daggers taken from the Dervishes, Khartoum; priest's inscribed dagger, Khartoum; prisoner's ankle fetters, captured at the Atbara. Presented by Lieut. W. G. Digby, A.S.C., Bulford Camp, Salisbury. Collection of specimens from Masai-land and German E. Africa, viz.: Hide shield of the Warombo; throwing-club; spear, 'Loita Masai; spear, Chaga; spears, Wanderobo, Wa- shambara, and Warombo; Somali javelin (Tanga); ditto of Southern type (Tanga); spear-shaped wooden staff carried by Chaga warriors during peace, Moshi; bow, quiver and arrows, Masai; Masai sword; Suaheli belt with powder-horn, &c.; Suaheli (?) sword; Masai trumpet of Koodoo horn; Masai warrior's face-ring; Suaheli sandals; 2 Wa-Bondei spoons and 2 pipe-bowls, Magila; Masai woman's belt; 3 Masai bead-work necklets; ditto of strung seeds; Suaheli seed necklet; 7 varieties of Masai neck torques of wirework, &c.; pair of Chaga wirework ear-rings; Masai ear-ring with pendant chains; pair of silver ear-rings worn by Suaheli women; pair of Masai wirework armlets and spiral finger-rings; 4 finger- rings of zebra-hoof made by Suaheli porters; guerza skin worn by Masai; dance armlet with copper bells worn by Wa-Taveita girls; pair of ornamental bands worn below the knee, Chaga, Moshi. Presented by A.C. Hollis, Esq., Nairobi, E. Africa. Thirty-four Roman pottery lamps showing sequence in the variation of decorative design; upper stone of Roman cornmill; pottery vase with face of negro (W. African type) on either side, Roman; excavated by Prof. W, Flinders Petrie at Ehnasya. Basket with lid, eighteenth dynasty, found at Gurob by Mr. L. Loat. Wooden spoon and 3 wooden objects of unknown use, 6 finger-ring keys, 9 iron knives, 3 ditto with handles, iron saw-blade, T-shaped axe-blade, 9 baskets, and string-work girdle; excavated by Drs. Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrhynchus (Roman). Two votive vases, model oar and mast, fragment of pottery vase and clay sealing from jar, eleventh dynasty; basket, wooden mason's clamp, blue-glaze disc-beads, straw beads, piece of cloth with bead fringe, small blue beads, piece of clay stuck with beads, small threaded amulets, head of Hathor in pottery, ditto blue-glaze, Ta-urt beads, 2 votive eyes and 2 ears of blue-glazed ware, votive eyes in bronze, votive wooden tablet with eyes, &c. painted on it, votive cow on bronze plaque, menat amulet of wood, 2 stone-mason's mallets, piece of rope, basket-work sandals, wooden ball and straw ball, pottery vase-stand, ditto for 4 small vases, eighteenth dynasty; excavated by Dr. Naville and Mr. Hall at Deir el Bahari. Presented by the Committee of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Complete stone quern and upper stone of another, South Leigh,Oxon. Presented by Mrs. Gerard Moultine, South Leigh. Three reaping-sickles and 3 unhafted blades from South Leigh, Oxon, now obsolete. Presented by the Rev. Arthur East, South Leigh Vicarage. Curious cut paper representation of Lazarus at the rich man's gate, 150 years old or more, Frome, Somerset. Presented by J. Brownjohn, Esq., 41 Plantation Road, Oxford. Skull, bones and potsherds from a cave in cliffs near Orotava, Teneriffe, 1887. Presented by G. B. Longstaff, Esq., M.D., New College, Oxford.

W. Australian, glass-edged knife with decorated handle; Australian spoon of mussel-shell on handle; Eskimo spear-thrower, W. Greenland, I852. [S. Fenton.] Silver head ornament, lantur, formerly worn by Druse women of the Lebanon district. [Rev. W. Allan, D.D.] Twenty arrows tipped with trigon-spines, Goagiras, Magdalena State, Colombia; bow, Magdalena State; Manganja bow, Lake Nyassa, Africa; throwing weapon of iron, Central Africa. [Watson Bros.] Two canoe prows, New Zealand; ancient Peruvian (Chincas) skull, artificially distorted; Indian stone quern and maize-grinder; 3 New Guinea stone-headed clubs; New Guinea seat or pillow; 2 Brazilian quivers for blow-gun darts; 8 combs, Congo; two-pronged spear, New Guinea; spear, New Britain; fishing-spear, Nicobar Islands; camel-spear, Soudan; 2 Brazilian blow-guns; Indian shoe-maker's tool-bag; 3 Cingalese chutnee-mortars; 2 Javan anklong musical instruments; Fijian head-rest and bark-cloth mallet; African jingle of nut-shells; 2 Mahomedan pouches, W. Africa; ladle, and fly-whisk, Africa; Nigerian rattle of gourd; Matty Island turtle-bone axe ; 4 carved wood ornaments, New Guinea; 2 anklet-rattles of strychnos seed-vessels, Congo State; bow and 6 very long arrows, Rio Napo, S. America; Matty Island club and spear; palm-wood spade, Kiwai, New Guinea; paddle, Sumai, New Guinea; carved-wood frontlet disc, New Guinea; bow, quiver, and arrows, Bushman, Kalahari desert; 2 combined spoons and skin-scrapers, Zambezi River; 11 armlets, Zambezi; Matabili head-rest; string-work girdle, S. Africa; 2 divining-rods, Zambezi River; 6 harpoon-arrows, Congo State; 6 wooden arrows, Kassai, Congo State; bundle of poisoned arrows with sheath, Equatorial region, Congo; ditto, interior of Congo State; 2 iron spears inlaid with brass and incised, Kontagora, N. Nigeria; 2 iron-bladed spears, Maiguchera, N. Nigeria; bow and sandal, Kontagora; short sword with peculiar handle, Dumboland, Congo State; chopping knife, Welle district, Congo State; knife with bifid end and small sheath knife, Congo State. [Stevens.] Thirty palaeolithic implements and 6 flakes from a gravel-pit near Bedford; 1 palaeolith from gravel-pit at Kempston, Bedford; neolithic scraper and specimens of coscinopora globularis from the Bedford gravels; rude, pointed implement of soft stone from a stream at Rathmullan, Co. Donegal; 6 N. American stone arrow-heads. [F. W. Knowles, Esq.] Set of 4 kaross-needles and bead-work pouch containing native razors, Kaffir, S. Africa. [Miss K. Howard.] Two very rudely-made guns, Sonthal, India; elaborately made axe, Kassai, Congo State; knife used for hollowing out wooden gongs, Mangbettu, Central Africa; Ba-Fahn rattle for scaring evil spirits, Gaboon, W. Africa; loop- handled dagger, Grand Bassa, Nigeria; Indian bow of buffalo horn; sistrum of gourd discs, Turkestan; Barotse blacksmith's tongs, S. Africa. [Oldman.] Two "bull-roarers," "stick-and-bail," "merry-peg" board and pieces, 2 large dice for game of " A-all," used in obsolete Oxfordshire games; perforated hone-stone found deeply buried in Ship Street, Oxford. [Carter.] Calvaria of a Maori made into a water-carrier, New Zealand. [General Robley.] Collection of specimens from Northern Nigeria,viz.: Daggers from Wadai and Bornu; Haussa dagger with arm-ring; Muntshi loop-handled dagger; broad-bladed sword with sheath and trappings, Kano, Sokoto; quiver and arrows, Bornu; ditto, Bassa; coat of chain mail, Kano; Mahomedan sandals; ditto, decorated with ostrich feathers; Haussa shoes and riding boots; Yoruba cap; elaborate headgear of a Bashama chief; Muntshi cotton-cloth and double pillow of leather; axe, Pagan tribes; mancala board, Haussa; Kokanda pipe-bowl; 2 inlaid wooden armlets; stone armlet, Touareg, Timbuctoo; Bashama ivory armlet, Benue River; woman's belt of snake's vertebrae and ditto of shell discs, Muntshi; Haussa Koran-case, purse, and pouches; fishing-line with hooks, River tribes; Kokanda fishing-net; set of Haussa bird-snares; 5 wooden spoons, Egga, Yoruba; brass ladle, Haussa; flask of carved gourd, Haussa; 2 jars of pottery, Nupe; 2 pottery bowls decorated with birds in complete relief, Ibi Nupe; ring-pad for carrying pots; spirally made basketry bowl and plaque, Haussa; ditto, decorated with cowries, Haussa; ditto, Foulani; 3 pairs of joined leathern trays, Kano; straining-basket; pair of fetishes of leather, cloth and cowries, Pagan tribes; 2 charms of iron encased in string-work, ib.; small raw-hide box; leathern thongs and sash, Haussa; large satchel, Haussa; 2 elaborate horse collars, Haussa and Bornu; leathern horse- trapping, bit and bridle, and pair of stirrups, Haussa; pair of brass stirrups, Bida; 4 examples of decorated brass-work (ewers, &c.), Bida; gourd rattle; iron gong used by pagan robbers; 2 drums, Haussa; 2 jews-harp-like instruments, Haussa; clarinet, Haussa; oboe, ib.; long brass trumpet used by Mahomedan chiefs; peculiar wind instrument with bag for blowing, Haussa; musical bow (to); 3 rude guitars, Haussa; rude fiddle, Haussa. [E.F. Martin, Esq.] Four flint arrow-heads, Kidlington, Oxon. [Cassell.] Sheath-knife with curiously curled hide sheath and wooden call or whistle, Lobi tribe, French Soudan. [C. H. Pemberton, Esq.] Second portion of the collection made by Mr. H. S. Rohu in N.E. British New Guinea (Gira, Mambari, and Kumusi Rivers, Tamata Creek, Yada Valley, and coastal region), viz.: I7 clubs with discoidal stone heads, 5 ditto with knobbed stone heads and one with ball-shaped head, 2 carved-wood clubs, 10 spears, 2 shields, food-dish of areca spathe, bamboo pipe, several fringe skirts, number of large and small string work-bags some containing personal effects, charm-bag, plaited belts worn by men and women, man's bark waist-cloth, mourning jackets and head coverings, hibiscus fibre, cord of plaited fungus rhizomorph, palm-leaf toy, 25 carved lime spatulae, betel-nut pestle, netting needle, 2 elaborate feather head ornaments and frame for another, head-coronet of human hair, several coronets of cassowary and other feathers, 2 head- plumes of bright feathers, 2 girl's feather aprons, long dance-wand covered with cassowary feathers, armlets of cone-shell, trochus-shell, and coconut shell, ditto of plaited cane-and-grass. work, ditto covered with coix seeds, 6 crescentic forehead ornaments decorated with shells, 1 ditto of plain wicker-work, forehead ornament with shell-pendants, necklet of ovulum shells, 5 ditto of cowries, necklet of natica shells, others made with smaller shells, necklet of cone-shell bases, ditto with discs of nautilus shell, number of necklets of strung seeds, beads, dogs' teeth, &c., chiefs' necklet of string-work with shell ornaments, 2 pendants of boar's tusks, 1 ditto of cone-shell imitating boar's tusk, ovulum-shell pendant, cymbium-shell groin guard, necklet of finely plaited human hair, dance ornament of boars' tusks on ring of bark, dance jingle of canarium nut-shells, number of ear-rings of coconut shell and turtle-shell. [H.S. Rohu.]

Bar of salt, gheila amolié, used as a unit of currency, Tigrai, Abyssinia. [Prof. E. Giglioli.]

Trumpet of sable antelope's horn, S. Africa. [Deposited by Dr. Annandale, Edinburgh.] Early pattern of whaling-harpoon and small steel model of modern form, and piece of rope used as harpoon-line, Finmarken; small harpoon-head, English; Baluba wooden whistle, xylophone and hollow wooden gong, Congo State; 4-stringed musical instrument, Congo; Fijian club with inset human teeth; 2 wooden "alp-horns," Switzerland; 3 similar trumpets, Sweden; 13-stringed Koto, Japan; Norwegian zither, langeleik European dulcimer; small practice zither; musical-bow with jingling disc, Africa; Lobi brass whistle with pendent brass plaque, French Soudan. [Deposited by the Curator.]


virtual collections logo

Supported by the John Fell OUP Research Fund


(c) 2012 Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford