Summary

Flat thin shields with the added strength of handles cut out at the back were generally used to deflect spears. This type of shield with its distinctive geometric and linear patterning created by grooves or fluting on the outer surface is typical of the Western Desert region. The patterning is mostly emphasised with the application of contrasting colours of natural pigments, the striping effect achieved in this one being a good example of this treatment. Early collectors acquired many examples of these shields, mainly motivated by the belief that Aboriginal people were 'a dying race'. This idea and a growing interest in ethnography created a very robust trade in Aboriginal objects in the earliest decades of European settlement.

Physical Description

An oval shield made from a single piece of hardwood painted with natural pigments. The flat outer surface is incised with six sets of fluted lines that form a zig zag pattern. It is decorated with alternating bands of red ochre and white pipe clay.

Local Name

wunda

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