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Shield, Djakapis Village, Upper Jerep River, Remote North West Asmat


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Collection No. 404-189
Size (137x44cm)
Shield, Djakapis Village, Upper Jerep River, Remote North West Asmat
Shield, Djakapis Village, Upper Jerep River, Remote North West Asmat

This beautiful old and used shield was collected by me in Djakapis in 1985.  At that time Djakapis village was one of the most remote villages in the North West Asmat Area. None of the villagers spoke even a small amount of  Bahasa Indonesia so all interaction between us was done by just watching each other and pantomime. The owner of the shield in the field photograph has his name recorded along with the name of the carver of the shield. Also at this time, there was still sporadic tribal fighting with Irogo and Pupis Villages generally over the kidnapping of women. Djakapis is a small village of less than 50 people.

Asmat Shields were important objects that venerated their ancestors, each shield had a personal name and when invoked during warfare the enemy was said to be frightened or stunned and easy to kill.

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