War shield

oceania | Papua New Guinea

War shield

Papua New Guinea

Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Carved, painted wood and fiber
20th century
Height: 47 ¼ in. (120 cm)

Ex collection Bob Hall, collected on the field
Ex collection Jonathan Saussherd, Australia
Ex collection Dr Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, France, acquired from the above

Highlands War Shield 120 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. Red is the color of victory (and blood).
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.

Documentation

Mount Hagen warriors, circa 1936, Photographer: Michael Leahy
Published in “Shields of Melanesia”, page 141

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