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.