230120 - Large Rare ANTIQUE African Masai shield with decoration - Tanzania

€465.00

Large Antique Ethiopian Warrior shield with decorations.

Diameter: 74 cm x 53 cm

Pastoralist Maasai from the grasslands of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania used such shields in warfare, hunting, and rites of passage.

A buffalo hide sewn onto a wooden frame is the convex elliptical canvas onto which an artist traced rich polychrome geometric patterns: two large crescents symmetrically positioned on either side of a central vertical band composed of alternating triangles. The motifs identified the owner's position within a complex lineage system.

Called sirata, many of these symbolic motifs have fallen into disuse and are poorly understood by contemporary Maasai. Several elements relate this shield to a proven warrior herder.

This prestigious sign is conferred only with the permission of a high-ranking chief.