Lot 21
  • 21

Biwat or Angoram War Shield, Yuat River, Lower Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea

6,000 - 9,000 USD
20,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood


John J. Klejman, New York
Allan Stone, New York, acquired from the above on April 3, 1964

Catalogue Note

According to Kjellgren (2007: 99), "Carvers from the Angoram and Biwat peoples living in the area around the junction of the Yuat and Sepik rivers produced a similar variety of war shield, characterized by a central column of three to six superimposed faces, whose eyes are often surrounded [...] by bristly, upward curving projections. [...] In former times, shields of this type were reportedly used in battle to protect the owner from spears.  According to Beta Omang, a Biwat man from Akuran village, the faces on the shields depict Raram, a powerful spirit, and the bristlelike elements around the eyes represent spears (damvro).  [...]  Given the hazards and uncertainties of combat, the addition of such powerful images to war shields may have been intended to afford the bearer an added measure of supernatural protection."

For two closely related Biwat shields see Friede (2005 cat. nos. 148 and 149).