Australian Aboriginal Parrying Shield - Western Australia

A beautifully worked parrying shield from the La Grange region on the northern coast of Western Australia. Refined carving work graces the full face of this dark shield, with two panels of rhomboid motifs divided by a central zigzag band. Diagonal scoring enriches the surface with a feathered texture, softening and unifying the overall design. The reverse side of the shield is treated with similar carving.

Parrying shields, which are uniformly narrow and relatively light, were used by Australian tribesmen to counter the club strikes of adversaries. In contrast to this flat-faced example from La Grange, many parrying shields feature a projecting central ridge for stouter reinforcement.

 

First half of 20th century
29 ¼” h 3 ¾” w
Wood
Provenance: Private Australian collection
#548
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