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A Fine Old New Guinea War Shield, Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. SOLD
Size 143.5cm x 65cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art
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A Fine Old New Guinea War Shield, Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands Papua New Guinea

This old and well-used shield was collected in the Wahgi Valley in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea in 1965 -1966 by a geologist working in New Guinea. The bold design is started by a punctated pecking that becomes the outline for the designs that are painted in yellow, white, and black colours. This shield has signs of being well used in fighting because of the many arrows and spearheads embedded in the front of the shield. Wahgi Valley Clans have a range of designs that they use on their shields, each design is likely to belong to a specific clan and can be easily recognized by enemies and clansmen alike. Warfare was widespread among traditional enemies in neighboring areas and alliances were made & broken regularly between groups. These large rectangular shields were used in battle by two men, one pushing the shield forward and another warrior hiding behind the shield and free to use his bow and arrows with great accuracy.  Old photos of fighting in the New Guinea Highlands show many warriors with shields facing off over a large space where people surge forward and then move back.  I have seen warriors standing on rural dirt roads with their shields expecting a fight, this was in the 1980s, and later when people acquired guns then shields became obsolete due to their not being effective against modern guns.  This shield has some small village repairs done with rattan which are part of the story of the shield, the overall condition of the shield is very good.  Hanging on the wall in my home it looks amazing.  The shield would have been made in the 1930s as it was old when collected in 1965.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art Art

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honoured by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in 1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery.  I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com  where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours.



If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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