Summary

Central Australian shields were made from a light soft wood mostly oval shaped and used to deflect spears or blows from boomerangs in conflict situations. Added strength was given by the handles being part of the structure and cut out of the reverse side. The grooves or fluting is typical of the treatment of the outer surface of shields in the central desert regions, and are classically painted with designs representing the totemic ancestors. The shields are also used in revealing these details of the ancestors to young men in ceremony and displayed during the public stages of their initiation.

Physical Description

An oval shield made from a single piece of softwood painted with natural pigments. The outer concave surface has longitudinal fluting of parallel lines. It is coated with red ochre and the outer surface is decorated with curvilinear design in black pigment outlined in white dots. The handle is cut out of the reverse side.

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