Australian Aboriginal Shield - Western Australia

Adorned with classic zigzag grooves down its full face, this handsome shield (wunda) reflects the canonical approach to shield design across Western Australia. The pandal pattern featured on this shield, characterized by its diagonal center section, is often enhanced with ochre, faint traces of which can be found here. The reverse side bears a subtle echo of the pandal design, with gentle, looser ridging and a small diagonal section on the handle.

Wunda are wider shields than some Australian types and most commonly offered protection against projectile weapons, such as spears and boomerangs. They also appeared in ritual contexts, carried by performers reenacting episodes from the mythical Dreaming in which ancestors were said to be armed with shields.

 

Late 19th century
27” h 5 ½” w
Wood, pigment
Provenance: Taylor Dale, Santa Fe
#539
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