Material: Wood, fiber and pigment
Country: Papua New Guinea
Shields were used to protect against the physical and
spiritual powers of the enemy. A shield always represented
an ancestor and the ancestor's spirit was believed to be
present in the shield and made the owner fierce,
powerful and invincible. The colors have magical qualities
that represent different aspects of the Asmat world, both
seen and unseen. Some motifs and symbols were believed
to be so powerful that just by seeing these symbols, the
enemy would flee in terror or be immobilized in fear. But
such powerful symbols required strict rituals of appeasement.
A special feast,was held to call upon the ancestor's spirit to
enter the war shields.
Dimensions: 53" high by 15" wide by 8" deep