Arrernte shield

Unknown maker, Central Australia1940 - 1952

Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria

This shield from Central Australia, possibly produced by the Arrernte people, was purchasd by Museum Victoria in 1952 from H.J. Wright. Although shields were manufactured by Aboriginal men primarily for fighting, they were also used on ceremonial occasions. Depending on the nature of the ceremony, certain iconographic designs were painted on the surface of the shield and employed in different parts of the ritual to evoke the power of ancestral beings originating in the 'dreamtime' (tjukurrpa). Like the iconography that appears in contemporary Aboriginal painting, the designs represent certain events and activities relating to the ancestral heroes as they wondered across the mythic landscape.

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  • Title: Arrernte shield
  • Creator: Unknown maker, Central Australia
  • Date Created: 1940 - 1952
  • Physical Dimensions: w285 x h718 x d110 mm
  • Type: Object
  • Rights: Source: Museum Victoria. Indigenous or Cultural Rights Apply, Copyright Museum Victoria: Source Museum Victoria / Photographer Benjamin Healley. Indigenous or Cultural Rights apply
  • Medium: Natural pigments on wood
  • Subject: Aboriginal peoples (Australians), Aboriginal art, shields


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