Lot 9
  • 9

A Rainforest Shield, North East Queensland Late 19th Century

Estimate
10,000 - 15,000 GBP
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Carved fig-wood (Ficus alpipila), natural earth pigments, native binding fluids, sap and nails
  • 95cm by 33cm
Carved fig-wood (ficus alpipila), natural earth pigments, native binding fluids, sap and nails

Provenance

The Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands

Exhibited

Mémoires Vives. Une Histoire de l'Art Aborigène, Musee D'Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France, 15 October 2013 - 30 March 2014

Catalogue Note

Cf. Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 25 July, 2005, Lot 14, for another shield with evidence of battle scarring; Davies S, Collected 150 Years of Aboriginal Art and Artifacts At the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney 2002, p.76, pl.85.

The designs on shields such as this are associated with clan totems and are thought to possess protective qualities when used in battle with large single-handed sword clubs. The shields also played an important role in the initiation ceremonies of young men. This example shows evidence of extensive use in combat, and has several nails embedded along one edge for fortification.

“Lumholtz (1889) recorded that shields of this type where used to deflect spears, clubs and boomerangs during large gatherings of Aboriginal people, where disputes between individuals and groups were settled. He also noted that the designs applied to the front surface of such shields differed, suggesting that they constituted an individual's 'coat of arms'.” Ibid. p.76

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