A Fine Old Lumi War Shield West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
|Size||96cm x 62cm|
A Superb Old War Shield from the Lumi Area in the Torricelli Mountain Ranges of The West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Stone Carved and Dating from the 19th Century
In New Guinea where most of the shields are either oval or rectangular, the Lumi Shields stand out with their elegant irregular and beautiful form. This shield is deeply incised with designs that are concentric circles connected by lines that remind me of Australian Aboriginal Sand
I am sure that long ago the person who made this shield had stories both about the shape shield and the designs which are now probably lost. These designs are mesmerizing to look at; in fact most New Guinea Shields the designs are meant to frighten or confuse the enemy. I was told this by many different tribal groups in New Guinea and West Papua,
In many areas of New Guinea shields are said to be vessels for ancestral spirits and often have personal names that only the owner of the shield can invoke.
The face of the shield has numerous spears or arrow tips embedded in the shield and can be clearly seen in the photos. Lumi shields like this example have five rattan binding points seen from the front, these originally would have held a rattan handle or strap on the back of the shiels where the warrior could slip through his arm and firmly hold in place on this shoulder hands-free to shoot a bow & arrow while protecting his body from enemy arrows. Lumi shields were quite light and quite thick and could easily stop an arrow from penetrating the warrior.
When you see this Shield in person you can see right away that it is a very old shield and though ancient in its tradition it also has a superb modernist sculptural form that would fit well in a modern house with modern art. This has been one of my favorited shields that have been on my wall in my home for 40 years
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art & Shields