- Length 1.24 m; Width 270 mm
shield of wood, decorated with shells. The shield is basically rectangular
in shape, slightly waisted on the longer sides. It is convex in both
longitudinal and transverse axes, in the latter case developing a "keel"
which becomes increasingly pronounced towards the centre. On the reverse
is an integral grip: a raised spine extending the length of the shield
increases in height and width towards the centre, where the hand-grip
is formed by a rectangular opening, transversely cut. At one end of
the spine is an expanded terminal; the other end is missing. Bindings
of palm-wood are nailed along either side, while a narrow strip of the
same material is nailed to form a midrib. Towards either end are three
encircling bands of five such strips, threaded at regular intervals
through the shield and the midrib strip and round the outer bindings.
The obverse face is set with discoid and pear-shaped fragments of shell
(a number of which are now missing), recessed into the surface and in
some cases held in place by small iron pins. The degree of wear and
the method of mounting the shells makes identification difficult, but
the large cowries could be the Indo-Pacific Ovula ovum L. or, perhaps,
polished sections of the common Indo-Pacific tiger cowrie Cypraea tigris
L. Much of this face has been treated with a black pigment, but a rectangular
central section, flanked at each end by a pair of curvilinear decorative
motifs, has been left untreated. A long gash and several stab-marks
may have been sustained in use.
of this type, which are normally attributed to the Alfuren peoples,
are common throughout the Molucca islands. They share a common structure
but with variations both in shape and decoration, and include short,
narrow parrying-shields with a pronounced longitudinal curve, and longer,
wider shields which would offer better defense against projectiles.
The parrying-shields are those most commonly illustrated in the literature
and were used throughout the islands by men and boys. This example,
of the larger form, has been variously provenanced to Buru Island in
the south, and to the north and central Moluccas.
- Museum Id. No:
- 1685 B no. 2: Scutum Indicum Ligneum; 4 pedes longum, unicum tantum
Latum. media parte paululum gracilescit, ad extremitates aliquantulum
est Latius. parte convexa conchis venereis albis ossibusque undique
exornatur. circumferentiam totam ambit vimen