211011 - Tribal Used African Ethiopian Amhara shield - Ethiopia
Antique Ethiopian Warrior shield with decorations.
Diameter: 38 cm.
This shield was collected between 1920 and 1940 and ended up in my private collection in 1989.
A rounded Ethiopian shield made out of leather that could be attributed to various Ethiopian warrior groups. Ethiopian shields come in variety of designs and decorations (beads, silver strips etc.). They are made of various media that include, wood, metal, vegetable fiber (rattan or raffia).
Leather is preferable for the hide is strong and resistant. The hide used is from the buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant. The visual effect, the functionality and practical purposes of the piece dictated the form a shield should take. A good shield should offer a maximum of protection. The material used should be strength and durable. Almost all peoples of Africa made usage of the shield. In many cultures, shields like this were known as a defensive weapon, used by the warriors during combat. Shields were also displayed as emblems of status or rank and also as accessories of dance during festival or commemorative ceremonies or after a victory.
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