Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer


Mulga wood shield by Andy Tjilari, 1975


Mulga wood shield by Andy Tjilari, 1975

Object information

Physical description

A handmade, elongated shield with curved ends, made of dark mulga wood. The shield face features diagonally carved lines, forming alternating triangular shapes along its length. At the back, there is a handle carved into the form of the shield. The wood is predominanalty of dark brown heartwood, with pale yellow sapwood along one edge, and on one side of the handle.

Statement of significance

The collection comprises an acrylic painting on particle board titled 'Seven Sisters Songline' (1994) by Josephine Mick (1955- ) and three mulga wood shields (1975) carved by Andi Tjilari (1925 - 2016). This material was acquired by anthropologist Diana James, who has worked with Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) communities in northwest South Australia since the 1970s.

Josephine Mick is a senior Pitjantjatjara female custodian of story, song and dance relating to the Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters) creation story that traverses her country in the tristate corner of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Her painted 'map' of the Seven Sisters songline is an artist's impression of the connectivity of some of the creation Sisters journeys across Australia, connecting these sites within a corridor of colour stretching from the west to east coasts of the continent. Kunmanara (Andy Tjilari) was a well known Anangu elder and ngankari (traditional healer). The artefacts in this collection made by him are significant as well provenanced examples of Western Desert shields from the 1970s.

Object information

Back to top