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$2000 plus tax & shipping
This fascinating 'Strongim Man Ox & Palm Corned Beef' motif war shield from Papua New Guinea depicts contemporary imagery painted in the traditional manner over previous decoration on an old war shield, reflecting integration of cultures in 1970's New Guinea. Waghi valley shields are the biggest in the highlands. The tribesmen hold great respect for their shields often referring to them as their "brother". The shields are passed down from generation to generation, and repainted for different battles. The tribal shields were for fixed battles. The shield carrier was armed with a spear and formed a front protective line. Bowmen followed closely using the same shields as protection. Battle scars are visible on this old shield.
In the 1970's, some areas of the Waghi valley started to use motifs relevant to modern times, rather than traditional motifs. The most famous of these are the Phantom shields and the use of South Pacific Lager beer motifs. The shields were often commissioned to be painted by sign painters. The Ox and Palm motif on this vinatge shield is very rare and likely unique. You can see the old designs on the shield, with remnant ochre, paint and the outlines of small holes, and this has been painted over in the traditional manner. This shield is decorated further with a woven strip at the top. Two rattan strips attached through four holes form the handle. This shield also has an intact arm cord.
The Ox and Palm motif is also made more relevant today due to the contemporary trade war between PNG and Fiji. In the early part of this century, Fiji banned Ox and Palm Corned beef from PNG declaring it was a biosecurity risk. The popular belief is that the ban on Ox and Palm into Fiji is only a cover to stop competition with Fiji's Island Beef brand.
Although the artist who painted this shield is unknown – it is a stunning collectors piece and very rare to find on the open market today.
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