Exceptional Ribbed Wooden Club
Dinka People, South Sudan
length: 70.5cm, weight: 473g
This exceptional and well-balanced club from the Dinka People of South Sudan dates to the 19th century and possibly to the early 19th century.
It is carved from a single piece of dense hardwood, has a superb dark and lustrous patina. It is deeply fluted at its tip and along the main body of the shaft. The grip end is sheafed in crocodile skin which has a superb patina commensurate with the rest of the club.
An example is illustrated in Ginzberg (2000, p. 200). Other examples can be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.
The Dinka people are an ethnic group inhabiting South Sudan. Largely, they are agri-pastoral people, and are known for their cattle herding. They also grow millet and other grains. Traditionally, their political organisation has been restricted to a number of interlinked clans without any central authority.
The club was acquired in the UK and almost certainly has been in the UK since colonial times. It is unusually fine in terms of the depth and precision of its fluting, the condition of the skin handle cover, and the depth of the patina. It is superior to most or all published examples.
Ginzberg, M., African Forms, Skira, 2000.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3529