Date: late 19th–early 20th century

Geography: Australia, Central Queensland (?), Queensland

Culture: Central Queensland (?)

Medium: Wood, paint

Dimensions: H. 9 3/4 x W. 25 5/8 in. (24.8 x 65.1 cm)

Classification: Wood-Implements

Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.206.1688


With its strongly convex surface, oval form, and brightly painted designs, this shield is likely from western Queensland. Carved from soft, light-weight wood, it served to ward off weapons, such as clubs, spears, or boomerangs, wielded or thrown by an opponent during fighting. Shields in western Queensland were decorated using a variety of techniques. Some examples were adorned with engraved designs, others were painted, and some were decorated using a combination of the two techniques. The present work is painted with a bold, hourglass-shaped motif in red, white, and black pigments. Although a number of motifs appear repeatedly on shields from this region, there is no historic information on the significance of the individual designs.