Central Australian shields were traditionally used as defensive weapons against spears and boomerangs in conflict situations. The surface of these shields were also decorated with designs representing the totemic ancestors of young men and displayed during the public stages of their initiation.

Physical Description

This shield or alkwerte (Arrernte) is made from the red bean tree (erythrina verspertilio), or tyweretye (Arrernte). The handle is carved from the lower surface plane. Both sides of the shield are decorated with a reddish brown ochre ground layer. Sinuous and straight lines of black pigments and dots of white ochre, over painted with red, decorate the upper surface.

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