Carved wood, ochre pigments, black (charcoal), lime.
Handle made of a double rattan strap
Sandaun Province (West Sepik)
Ok Mountain. Central Highlands
– Collected by an Australian pilot in the 1960s.
– Bill Evans Collection, Paddington.
– Chris Boylan Collection, Sydney.
– Daniel Vigne Collection, Paris, Uzes
Shields of Papua New Guinea. Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York 2012
Illustrated N°11 of the catalog
Recognizable by their geometrical patterns in the shape of an “X”, the Ok Mountain shields have the same decoration as the engraved and painted doors of the ceremonial houses of this region.
According to Barry Craig (The Shields of Melanesia. 2005. Page 125), “the X pattern represents a stylized human figure, probably embodying an ancestor. The diamond point in the center is called matup bubil and represents his heart. The zigzag pattern represents a snake called durulian, a symbol among the telefolmin of humanity’s lost opportunity for immortality.”
These war shields could be used in magical rituals that took place before each battle.
They were kept in the men’s house, alongside the skulls of ancestors. Sometimes a small bag containing human bones was attached to the shield. This same bag was carried by the warrior in battle.
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