A Mangbetu Shield
Democratic Republic of Congo
The wood shield is in one piece, probably carved from an obeche plank* with a central raised rib running horizontally through the centre which is a reinforcement for the grip on the reverse and makes the shield stronger. To the top and base of the shield are wide bands of tightly woven raffia which, together with horizontal braiding prevent the wood from splitting vertically. The simplicity of the form is enhanced to the top half with a braided animal tail which is balanced by a small knop to the lower half. The vertical handle in the centre of the back of the shield is woven from plant material and attached to it is a carrying belt made from a long piece of dried hide. A further thin piece of dried hide, much of it worn away, is attached to the shield behind the handle with small wood pegs.
Height: 116 cm Width 68 cm (45.75 x 27 in)
*obeche is a dense wood which does not splinter
Collected by Ernest Shreiber, magistrate in the Congo between 1890 and 1913.
Guba Vol 2. by Ivan Baur & Jan Elsen. Brussels. examples p.108, 109 & 110
Marc Léo Felix by Felix pub 2009 p.199 no.205
African Arms and Armour by Christopher Spring pub. 1993 British Museum Press see p. 84 for photograph
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