- Museum number
Armlet, dancing shield made of wood, pigment, fibre.
- Production date
Height: 65 centimetres
Width: 42 centimetres
Depth: 10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Register addition "armlet" From acquisition "shield" From acquisition "dancing".
In addition to shields used in battle, the Kikuyu also made shields for dancing, called ndome. They are carved out of a single piece of wood with a hole for the arm instead of a hand grip, and were worn on the upper left arm by boys prior to their initiation as junior warriors. Each year the boys of a particular territorial unit would choose a design which they later used for their war shields once they had achieved warrior status.
Shields of this type became family heirlooms, though the designs might be scraped off and repainted many times as each new generation of boys prepared for their initiation.
C.J. Spring, African arms and armour (London, The British Museum Press, 1993)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number