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Large Early 20th C. Papua New Guinea Pig Skin Shield

Oceania, Papua New Guinea, Upper Sepik River, Kwoma region, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A massive shield with a wood and wicker frame and a pig skin - here two pig skins sewn together - stretched between them. The back of the shield has a cross made of wood wrapped in wicker across its upper portion. Shields of this style were used by younger initiate men, and they would wrap an arm through the crossbars to hold it. Standing shields were commonly used by people in this area of Papua New Guinea, and they continue to be made for ritual and artistic purposes today. In the past, they were used for protecting villages and for cover during a battle. They were large and difficult to maneuver, so one warrior would hold the shield while another fired arrows. Size: 21.5" W x 56.5" H (54.6 cm x 143.5 cm); 63" H (160 cm) on included custom stand.

See a similar example about halfway down this page at the Western Australian Museum: http://museum.wa.gov.au/explore/blogs/xavier-leenders/war-shields-and-dance-masks-papua-new-guinea

Condition: Old sewn repair in the pigskin. Wear to the pigskin including some small cracks and losses to fur. Wicker is generally in nice condition, with a few areas of looseness.

Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection

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