Explore highlights
Shield decorated with parrot feathers



Weight: 1.3kg


    War shield decorated with parrot feathers

    Central Province, Papua New Guinea
    AD late 1800s

    This shield is thin and extremely light. It would allow a warrior to run, jump and manoeuvre his way around a battlefield. Made from a hardwood, it would also protect a warrior from the strike of a spear. If the blow split the shield, then its woven covering helped to hold it together.

    Most shields from the Central Province in Papua New Guinea were decorated with brightly coloured parrot feathers like this one. As the shields were held high and brandished, their painted designs, woven patterns and feather decorations all served to dazzle and intimidate the enemy.

    Warfare in this region would often be conducted in set-piece battles where wrongs were redressed by causing an injury or even death to an opposing group.


    Browse or search over 4,000 highlights from the Museum collection

    Shop Online

    Illustrated introduction to Michelangelo, £9.99

    Illustrated introduction to Michelangelo, £9.99