Battle shields from Chimbu (Simbu): a new acquisition

Shield; Papua New Guinea; FE012615; Purchased 2011; Te Papa Tongarewa

Shield; Papua New Guinea; FE012615; Purchased 2011; Te Papa Tongarewa

These battle shields from Chimbu (Simbu) in the Papua New Guinea Highlands were collected by a New Zealand couple who spent nearly a decade teaching in the country until their return to New Zealand in 2009. The shields are significant for their cultural value and use in warfare among the Chimbu. They also have a strong visual presence. 

Shield; Papua New Guinea; FE012616; Purchased 2011; Te Papa Tongarewa

Shield; Papua New Guinea; FE012616; Purchased 2011; Te Papa Tongarewa

In terms of their provenance they contribute to one of our tasks of documenting the important work of New Zealanders in the Pacific through material culture they collect. The museum has a small number of shields from Papua New Guinea. They date from the late 1800s and early 1900s with a few from the 1970s. These shields will be the only examples we have from Chimbu (Simbu). There is only one other artefact attributed to Chimbu in the collection, a ceramic whistle.  

These well documented shields will be useful to researchers of warfare, art and culture in Papua New Guinea.

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