Mendi Valley War Shield
Papua New Guinea
Early 20th century
In the 1950's and 60's, geologist Bob Hall was active in Papua New Guinea and that's probably around that time he must have collected this beautiful old Mendi shield. This is pretty early time for collection in the area. The shield then joined an Australian private collection, then later the collection of Dr. Jean-Philippe Beaulieu and Galerie Flak in Paris.
Don't be fooled by the vivid colors: These shields were frequently repainted. It is much older than most you see out there, probably from the 1920's or 30's, as attested by the irregular shape and surface of the wood.
The design is classic and bold, with triangles echoing mountains and semi-circles somehow expressing a menacing gaze.
H: 119 cm (46 3/4 inches)