War shield, Masai, Kenya.
This is a rare and old Maasai painted war shield. It is made from thick hide stretched over a wooden frame and is lashed with hide strips to the outsides edges and the central rib. The handle is part of the wooden central brace. There is a thick hide knuckle pad at this point.The outer surfaces are painted in traditional motifs with paint that was traditionally obtained by mixing earth with blood or the red sap of the solanum campylae fruit. White was derived from local clays, and black from the skins of burnt gourds.
Condition: The handle has a glossy patina from years of handling. The wooden frame has a break (little deformed: see pictures) but the shield is still very solid, stains, scratches, min. damage, paint rubbed off, obvious wear and use.It measures 90 cm / 35.4 inches tall, 62 cm / 24.4 inches wide.