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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer

4

Shield with carved diamond pattern painted in Reckitt's Blue

2007.0057.0001

Shield with carved diamond pattern painted in Reckitt's Blue

Object information

Physical description

An oval wood shield with a convex front and a flat back both decorated with geometric carving and Reckitt's Blue pigment. The handle is carved out of the solid on the back and is surrounded by four carved triangle shapes pigmented blue. There are also letters carved on either side of the handle reading "LC". The carved and blue pigmented decoration on the convex front consists of double pointed triangles at the ends, a line of joined triangles along each side and a diamond in the centre.

Statement of significance

This collection comprises an Aboriginal shield from south-west Queensland. The front of the shield is decorated with a central lozenge shape that is repeated around the perimeter. The design on the reverse consists of four triangles, one in each corner. The designs on both surfaces are incised and coloured with a blue pigment commonly known as Reckitt's Blue. The shield has been carved from a single piece of solid wood. Two large wedge-shapes have been removed to create a handle on the reverse and the letters "LC" are carved on either side of the handle. There is clear evidence of usage with dents and chips out of the edges.

This shield was collected by the pastoralist Angus Munns in the 1890s. It was made by the Mandandanji people whose traditional lands in southwest Queensland are now known as the East Maranoa Pastoral District. The shield is a fine example of its type, and the use of Reckitt's Blue on the shield is representative of cross-cultural exchange between Indigenous people and colonial settlers.

Object information

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