The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Not on view
With its strongly convex surface, oval form, and brightly painted designs, this shield is likely from western Queensland. Carved from soft, light-weight wood, it served to ward off weapons, such as clubs, spears, or boomerangs, wielded or thrown by an opponent during fighting. Shields in western Queensland were decorated using a variety of techniques. Some examples were adorned with engraved designs, others were painted, and some were decorated using a combination of the two techniques. The present work is painted with a bold, hourglass-shaped motif in red, white, and black pigments. Although a number of motifs appear repeatedly on shields from this region, there is no historic information on the significance of the individual designs.
Mrs. Caspar Folkoff, New York, until 1965; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1965, on permanent loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1965–1978
Lumholtz, Carl. Among Cannibals: An Account of Four Years' Travels in Australia and of Camp Life with the Aborigines of Queensland. New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1889, pp. 332–33.
Brayshaw, Helen. Well Beaten Paths: Aborigines of the Herbert Burdekin District North Queensland: An Ethnographic and Archaeological Study. Townsville, Queensland: James Cook University of North Queensland, 1990, pp. 63–65.
Khan, Kate. "Adornments and Design in North Queensland: A View from the Nineteenth Century." In The Oxford companion to Aboriginal art and culture, edited by Sylvia Kleinert, and Margo Neale. Melbourne and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.