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Title

An early parrying shield

19th century

Artist

Unknown

Australia

  • Details

    Other Title
    Shield
    Place where the work was made
    New South Wales Australia
    Cultural origin
    Darling River/Southern Riverine region
    Date
    19th century
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    incised wood
    Dimensions
    81.8 x 8.7 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of Marjorie Gartrell 1983
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    48.1983
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Unknown

    Works in the collection

    1,092

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  • About

    The parrying shield is made from a single piece of wood that has the handle cut into it. Parrying shields are solid and narrow to parry, or ward off, blows from clubs. These shields often have three or four sides with incised front-facing designs.

    The skill and time involved in creating shields indicates their cultural importance. Engraved with myriad lines, south-eastern shields best exemplify the region’s artistic cultural practice. These shields are often cloaked in an array of diamonds, zigzags, squares, bands, circles, criss-crosses and the occasional figure. These iconic designs empower the shield bearer by representing country and identifying both regional and clan affiliations. As seen in the imagery of both William Barak and Tommy McRae, broad and parrying shields played a central role in south-east ceremonies. Shields used in performance would often be painted with natural pigments, remnants of which can still be seen on many today.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    New South Wales

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