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Old Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG

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Collection No. TB-24
Size (123x36cm)
Old Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG
Old Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG

This beautiful old and well used shield is from the Mendi Valley area of the Southern Highlands Province of  Papua New Guinea. This type of oval shield is called Worrumbi  in the local language and was used during tribal fighting with other nearby groups, there was regularly shifting alliances made & broken and fighting over land boundaries was common.  A shield belonging to an important man became a family heirloom,and often a shield had a personal name and many stories were attached to it.  This shield shows significant age with deep black glossy patina. Carved from a single piece of hardwood . the rope handle is attached through two holes in the centre of the shield, painted with red, white ochre .  Early 20th Century

In 1969 Mankind Magazine No . 7 Pages 59-66  there is an article ” The Style in New Guinea Highlands Shields ” by J.A. Abramson is one of the best articles with line drawings of the types of New Guinea Highlands Shields.  The other good publication on the Shields of New Guinea is a fine book called ” The Shields of Melanesia ” 2005 edited by Harry Beran & Barry Craig,  I wrote several chapters in this book and 22 of the shields published are from my private collection over 35 years.  There is a very fine chapter written by Chris Boylan on the Southern Highlands Shields.

Provenance:   Field Collected in the Mendi Valley in 1985 and part of my private collection of shields that has been hanging on the wall in my house for 35 years





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