Shield, Bontoc, N. Luzon, Philippines 19th Century.
This is a very old example of a Bontoc headhunter war shield in the classic concave design, locally known as "kalasag". Carved from a single piece of wood, bound with thick woven cane, shaped curvature to protect the body from spears, arrows and headaxes. The wood is thickest at the center point, the grip with a deep recess for the hand. The form is striking and strong; with fantastic signs of tribal use. The native repairs on this piece suggest apparent war use. The cut out V-shape to the bottom of the shield is supposedly to hold an enemies head to the ground for brutal head cutting.
Wood, rotan, blackish brown patina, encrusted in some areas, cracks, min. dam., traces of wear and use. H: 98 cm, H: 38.6 inch.