A Warriors Shield, Nias Island, Indonesia 1900 or earlier.
Made of a single piece of lightweight wood, thinly carved in a leaf form with a well worn handle behind the central boss. The shield has been strengthened by woven bands of rattan. This museum quality shield is a exciting new acquisition for us. Please feel free to send me any inquiries.
Dimensions; 51 X 11.5 X4 inches
Condition: Excellent with wear commensurate with age and use.
In former times, warfare and headhunting were prevalent throughout Nias, with both activities considered vital to a society’s prosperity. Success in warfare increased wealth and power through the accumulation of assets and slaves, and the collection of enemy heads was deemed necessary as a precursor to the creation of temples and gold ornaments and secondary burial rites. Among some communities it was also required in preparation for marriage.
The trappings of a warrior included adornments to signify success and rank, protective clothing and weapons such as swords, spears and large
shields. The typical Nias warrior’s shield or ‘baluse’ was used in battle as well as ritual performances.
Carved in the form of a stylised leaf shaped from a single piece of wood, this ‘baluse’ is embellished with cords of rattan that run from the back of
the shield across the face. These may have served to strengthen the shield and lend the surface a reptilian appearance.