210717 - Tribal Used African Ethiopian Amhara chief shield - Ethiopia
Antique Tribal Used very Rare African Ethiopian Amhara chief shield - Ethiopia
Diameter: 47 cm.
Normally these shields are made of metal. For a highly placed person of nobility, with the title 'Ras' (duke). This shields were made of leather till end 19th century and are therefore very rare.
A convex round leather chief shield, of the type of the Ethiopian highlands. With covered with 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. A central handle made of leather. The shield is in very good condition, with only minor age damage.
End 19th century.
Beautiful and old Ethiopian chief shield with Brass 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 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