South Sudanese art and material culture in European and Russian museums

This document is a working inventory of South Sudanese objects in museum collections in Europe and Russia. This (and previous versions) has already been shared with people involved in the South Sudan museum network.

It is an evolving document, intended as an entry point for researchers, curators, the arts sector and anyone who wishes to locate the historic arts and material cultural heritage of South Sudan stored outside the country.

The findings are based on desk research and museum visits supported by the British Institute in Eastern Africa (2015-2016) and subsequent research at the British School at Rome (2016-2017) and Oxford University (2017-present) supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

The principle has been to assemble useful information about the collections in one place. It includes:

  • List of museums which have South Sudanese collections
  • Basic info on the history of the collections (when they were assembled, where, by whom)
  • Basic info on the objects in the collections (in some cases number of objects, people associated with the objects)
  • Bibliography of primary and secondary sources (mainly in English and Italian)


The material has been organized by collector and institution. This decision was made to reflect the arrangement of the material in museums, inventories and the organization of supporting primary and secondary documentary resources. This approach does privilege the European organization of the material. It would be possible to organize the material differently – for example by region of South Sudan or by ethnic group. However, this was beyond the scope of the study at this stage.


A table at the back presents the collections by date, to help make chronological comparisons. In some cases, where known, the approximate number of objects has been given. This information is provided to give a sense of the volume of material. Collections range in size from a few objects to over two thousand.


This document is a work in progress. Only large or historically important collections have been included at this stage. Notable collections in Sudan, Egypt and North America are not covered. Any comments, corrections or suggestions are welcomed (both in terms of improving the content and usability).

Please contact Zoe Cormack