Kandrian or Arawe Shield - New Britain

This tall, vertical shield from West New Britain exemplifies classic Kadrian/Arawe design, with panels of concentric circles in pairs and quartets separated by horizontal bands. It is constructed of three planks lashed together with cane, with a recessed grip carved into the back of the central plank, as is typical in New Britain shields. Vivid earthen pigments highlight the vibratory qualities of the design, which is carved in light relief across the entire face of the shield. This type of shield would be used to defend against projectiles and club blows, as well as in dances during inter-clan marriage ceremonies.

 

Late 19th or early 20th century
50” h 12” w
Wood, cane fiber, pigment
Provenance: Private New York collection
#546
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