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A Superb Old New Guinea War Shield Angu People Eastern Highlands Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-2625
Size 94cm x 48cm
New Guinea Oceanic Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Superb Old War Shield, Angu People, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea 

This beautiful old shield with simple painted stripes designs is like a superb modernist painting. The cut out at the top is for the warrior to be able to see their enemy without lowering the shield completely

The people in this area of the Eastern Highlands though small in stature were some of the most feared warriors in New Guinea. See my field photo of an Angu Man dancing with his shield circa 1986.  The Angu were also known as the Kukukuku but this was a derogatory name from a different tribal group

These designs are mesmerizing to look at;  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.

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 is also a superb modernist painting that would fit well in a modern house with modern art.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art & Shields