Copyright © 2024 Fowler Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Sitemap Privacy Policy

Admission is Free | Open Wed–Sun


X2007.12.12 Shield


Object Name: Shield

Cultural Group: Azande peoples

Place of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date/Era: Early 20th century

Medium/Materials: Rattan, wood, metal

Dimensions: L: 49 in, W: 18 in, D: 7 1/2 in

Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Doran H. Ross;

Accession Number: X2007.12.12

The concept of basketry shields may initially seem to be a mismatch of creative techniques and materials with the intended function of the object. Yet before the advent of firearms, densely composed basketry and wickerwork shields served as highly effective protective devices in many parts of Africa and could successfully defend against knives, swords, arrows, and spears. Aside from their roles in warfare, shields could have served as ceremonial display items in military processions and formations and when a leader or group of leaders sat in state. In many African cultures shields were also employed as dance implements, tossed and twirled in often virtuosic performances. The highly visible public contexts for shield display explain in part the consummate artistry evident in the examples seen here.

African Basketry Arts, Thinking outside the Basket.

SKU: X2007.12.12 Category:

Stay Connected