Lot: 137

98th Auction

War shield "pakei"

Papua New Guinea - Middle Yuat (Biwat) River, Mundugumor

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Alex Vömel, Düsseldorf, Germany (1950s) H: 69.3 inch;
B: 14.6 inch
This object is not available anymore.

wood, white, pigments, coconut fibre, missing part

The shield is carved in relief with five faces representing powerful ancestral spirits. They all show prominent pointed noses with tassels of coconut fibres at the tip. The design is enlivened by circles and serrated lines. The solid handle consists of two vertical ridges connected by crossbars.

Shields are used in battle as physical protection against arrows and spears but their greatest power and threatening quality comes through the ancestors symbolized on the shields.

The dead person after which a shield is named bestows onto the carrier the strength, the courage and the will to fight.

The enemy will be so intimidated by the sight of the shield and will be so startled that his only chance of escape will be through flight. At the time when shields were still in use, a village felt powerful when it possessed a large number of shields.

Beran, Harry & Barry Craig (ed.), Shields of Melanesia, Honolulu 2005, p. 99 Peltier, Philippe et.al., Tanz der Ahnen, Zürich 2015, Kat. 197