La Grange Engraved Shield (AS053)
Description of item:
La Grange Karajarri engraved shield of the finest museum quality, interlocking key patterns reverse side; extremely large, very heavy, hard desert ironwood; good display and aged patina from the early 1900’s.
Height: 80 cm (31.5 inches)
Width: 13 cm (5 inches)
Shield is from the La Grange area in the South West Kimberley, Australia. The Karajarri call these shields karrbinna and carved them out of a type of eucalypt. The Karajarri were responsible for most, if not all, examples of traditional shields incised with well-proportioned interlocking key patterns. The reverse has a beautiful superior all over traditional Karajarri tight complex interlocking key design and a superb raised handle. Also natural wind patterns on longitudinal dunes originally made by Creation Heroes from Great Sandy Desert. The surface displays a deep rich dark patina. These shields functioned as defensive arms to intercept boomerangs and to parry blows from clubs during close combat but served as high degree ceremonial ritual status symbol and trade ceremonial exchange item between important senior men.
Davidson, D.S. ‘The interlocking key design in Aboriginal Australian decorative art’, (TAJA 2009: Vol. 4, Issue 3., pg. 85-126).
Akerman, K. ‘Shields in the Barbier-Mueller Museum’ online catalogue.
Davies, S.M. ‘Collected – 150 years of Aboriginal Art and at the Macleay Museum’ (2002).
McCarthy, F.D. ‘Aboriginal Decorative Art’, (1974).
Kjellgren, E. ‘Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’, (2007: 147).
Private Australian collection.