240506 - Old large African Maasai shield with decoration - Tanzania


African Maasai shield with decoration - Tanzania
Diameter: 72 cm high and 71 wide.
This shield is collected in the 1910's and came in my private collection in 1996, with certificate of Authenticity

Pastoralist Maasai from the grasslands of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania used such shields in warfare, hunting, and rites of passage. A buffalo hide sewn onto a wooden frame is the convex elliptical canvas onto which an artist traced rich polychrome geometric patterns: two large crescents symmetrically positioned on either side of a central vertical band composed of alternating triangles. The motifs identified the owner's position within a complex lineage system. Called sirata, many of these symbolic motifs have fallen into disuse and are poorly understood by contemporary Maasai. Several elements relate this shield to a proven warrior herder. This prestigious sign is conferred only with the permission of a high-ranking chief.

Shipping only in the Netherlands and Europe, ask me for shipping cost.