230115 - ANTIQUE African Ethiopian Oromo shield - Ethiopia


Antique Ethiopian Warrior Oromo shield with decorations.

Diameter: 44 cm.

A war shield of the Oromo people of Ethiopia.
This specimen with protrusions is rarer than the classic Ethiopian shield with decorations and lines.
The buffalo leather is molded in an intentional pattern that can distinguish the owner's status.
The leather was hammered and stretched on wooden forms and subsequently dried.
The handle is present and robust.
It was used as a defense weapon during wars or during ceremonies (symbolic combat against death).
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