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210153 - Antique Tribal Used African Ethiopian Amhara shield - Ethiopia

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Antique Tribal Used African Ethiopian Amhara shield - Ethiopia

Diameter: 47 cm. 

A convex round metall shield, of the type of the Ethiopian highlands. With  covered with dark brown velvet on the front and richly decorated with ornamented brass elements: an arched shield boss, as well as 4 hemispheres, rectangles, bands and individual elements of brass, cut, hallmarked and engraved. Attached with decorative nails of brass. The reverse is covered with red-dyed cotton. A central handle made of wood The shield is in very good condition, with only minor age damage. End 19th century.

Beautiful and old Ethiopian shield with metal decorations. The Amhara peoples used these shields for battle and as prestige items to show rank and importance. The embossed metal decorations have a plating of what looks to be gold. The base material of this shield is forged steel and not leather. This style was know to be used near the end of the 19th century. The front surface is covered with cloth that is the remnants of felt. The back of the shield has the original leather cover that has a tear on one side. Overall fine condition, showing a good patina from age and use. 

See a similar example in the Musee Dapper's CHASSEURS ET GUERRIERS; AFRICA: The Art of a Continent, edited by Tom Phillips, (See p. 126 in the above-referenced volume and also, p. 69 in African Shields by Dieter Plaschke and Manfred A. Zirngibl,) see also Marc Ginzberg. AFRICAN FORMS, pp. 168, 171