Lot 1
  • 1

A Broad Shield, Lower Murray River Early 19th Century

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Carved and engraved wood (inner bark of the gumtree), pipe clay, red ochre


Private collection, South Africa

Walter James Leyland, United Kingdom, acquired from the above circa 1970 and thence by descent

Catalogue Note

Cf., Carol Cooper et al., Aboriginal Australia, Australian Gallery Directors Council, 1981, p.88, fig.S47, for a shield of similar form and related engraved designs; Carol Cooper, in Judith Ryan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, NGV, Melbourne, 2012, pp.16-17 for discussion and illustrations of related shields.

Carol Cooper writes with regard to similar shields in the National Gallery of Victoria, that these shields “… show the typical forms and rhythmic, curvilinear elements which characterise south-eastern shields. It is the mastery of their combination into a multitude of striking designs, believed to signify both the individual artist and his clan or regional group, which gives them such beauty and emblematic distinction. While many look similar, no two are exactly the same. Although made with a variety of tools, the ornamental devices displayed in this group suggest they were produced by the possum-tooth engraver, with its distinctive, tiny gouges. The tool crafted incredibly precise lines and a beautiful chiaroscuro effect, either directly from the polished and decorated surfaces or, when the design was ‘painted up’ for battle or dance, with coloured ochres or pigments.” (ibid p.16)