War shield

oceania | Papua New Guinea

War shield

Papua New Guinea

Rumag war shield
Wahgi Valley, Highlands

Carved wood, pigments and rattan
Early 20th century
Height: 57 ½ in. (146 cm)

Ex collection of the Catholic Mission, Minj since the 1950s
Acquired from the Catholic Mission by Chris Boylan, 1978-1979
Ex private collection, Europe

Highlands War Shield 146 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
Warfare has been at the center of Highlands life since immemorial times. The shield has always been considered an extension of the warrior himself.
When warfare was expected, warriors repainted their shields to ensure that the colors shone brilliantly against the sun to dazzle and threaten the opposing side. In the western Pacific, shields bore the name of warriors, and possessed a life force, or spirit, that connected them to their ancestors.

The example shown here is a rare type of Highlands war shield. It is called Rumag and was used when quick movement was needed.

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