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Title

Warrior's shield (baluse)

late 19th century-early 20th century


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

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.


Details


Place where the work was made

Nias Indonesia


Cultural origin

Nias


Date

late 19th century-early 20th century


Media category

Arms & armour


Materials used

wood, steel, wire and rattan


Dimensions

125.0 x 34.5 x 9.5 cm


Credit

Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010


Location

Not on display


Accession number

527.2010



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


  • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Ancestral art of the Indonesian archipelago, Sydney, 2017, 61 (colour illus.).