This shield has been carved from the buttress root of a Fig tree and the kidney shape
typifies larger rainforest shields. The recessed handle thins the shield at the middle
and this is compensated for by the raised boss which although decorative was meant
to be practical first and foremost. Spears thrown in battle would have otherwise
penetrated the shield at the thinnest point thereby injuring the hand of its bearer.
The large hardwood swords were formidable weapons and the shields being a much
softer wood absorbed the impacts well. Old used shields often have large sword
slashes to the front as well as chunks out of the sides.
The wonderful decorations make rainforest the most decorative of Australian
Aboriginal shields and this one displays the Warrangamay pattern which is Russell’s