211152 - Large Tribal Used Ethiopian Water Buffalo Hide shield - Ethiopia


Large Antique Ethiopian Warrior Water Buffalo Hide shield with decorations.

Diameter: 59 cm.

This is a magnificent old Large Water Buffalo Hide Shield from Ethiopia. A Hide-covered shield states the courage of a warrior and is an important insignia of manhood. The hide shield is created by mounting it over a concave frame and embedding it with stones, for texture and beauty. The knotted leather handle is attached to the back. Ethiopian shields show their age and use by their patina. This wonderful shield with is beautiful surface distinguishes the status of the owner. A fabulous piece to add to you home or collection.
A large 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

This Ethiopian shield was collected between 1890 and 1920 and ended up in my private collection in 2002.