Oromo-Sidama leather warrior's shield (1875-1925)

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Ethiopian leather warrior's shield made of molded hippopotamus hide. Among the Oromo and Sidama peoples of southern Ethiopia, hide-covered shields connote the courage of warriors and are important insignias of manhood. Such shields are often made of cape buffalo, or, more rarely, in hippopotamus hide, as is this shield. Skilled specialists mount the hide over a concave frame embedded with stones giving the dimensional effect. The reverse has a thick semicircular leather handle affixed to the shield with leather bands. This shield is a rare find and displays a dark brown patina that speaks to a century of use. This shield is a fine example with high relief and an intricate surface pattern that may have distinguished the status of the owner.

Ethiopia, Southern Central region, late 19th/early 20th century. 

Condition: Fine original condition. Mounted on a custom display stand. Wear commensurate with age and use.

Materials: Hippopotamus Leather

Dimensions: 30-1/4” W x 10" D x 36-3/4" H (on stand)

SKU: 3658

Tear sheets are available on request. 


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