We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


An early broad shield


  • Details

    Cultural origin
    Southeast region
    Media categories
    Woodwork , Painting , Sculpture
    Materials used
    natural pigments on hardwood, cane handle
    89.5 cm high
    Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Purchase 2018
    South Building, ground level, Grand Courts
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Attrib. Jaithmathang artist

    Works in the collection


  • About

    This classic broad shield with carved undulating lines dissected both horizontally and vertically is a fine example of the shields carved by Aboriginal groups in the South-east of Australia. This particular example was collected at Mitta Mitta River, Victoria in 1933, perhaps almost a century after it was likely made, indicating the maker may have been a Jaithmathang artist. The delicate details of the fine cross-hatched incisions in the centre of the work and at either end may be considered the individual signature of the marker, denoting their hand within this shared design that refers to the moving water of rivers. Also of note is the remanent red pigment which distinguishes the incisions that divide this repeated water pattern into four distinct areas. The incised bears the hallmarks of possum tooth incisions, which are distinctive to the Southeastern region. When viewed from varying angles the incising design dazzles the eye, highlighting the expertise and experience of the artist who crafted this work.