Carved from a buttress root of a rainforest ficus tree (Ficus Benjamina), this shield has vertical flanges on the back for attaching a braided rattan handle. The three faces are typical of the Wogamas tribes, with large round eyes and a V or U shaped mouth.
Shields are signs of a warrior's identity and power. Beside their defensive and protective purposes, they acquired symbolic force through their bold and dynamic patterns, in bas-relief and painted, with forms full of meaning such as snake or crocodile teeth (surrounding the faces), which were designed to intimidate the enemy.
Their villages are clustered near the junctions of the April River, the Wogamus River and the Sepik river, near the Sepik Hills. Their spoken language is Bahinemo or “Bitara”.
Ryan Hammond Collection – circa 1960’s possibly earlier.
70"H x 21.5"W x 4"D