A rare polychrome war-shield decorated with a complex, champ levée, motif of six three-point motifs with zigzag surrounds. The back of the shield shows a structural rib extending to both ends of the vertical handle and is painted in two-tone, red and black sections vertically. Mappi Area, Lower Digul River, Irian Jaya, Indonesian New Guinea, Melanesia. Wood and traditional pigments. 131 x 35 cm. Early 20th century.


Provenance Ex collection Paul Hunger, Chur, circa 1951/1953. N° 17 of his inventory list and described as collected at Tarof (see below).

Field collected by Paul Hunger (1916-2010) a surveyor for the petroleum industry. He was stationed in Dutch New Guinea in the years 1951 to 1953 where he did most of his collecting of native objects including the present shield.

Tarof is a coastal village located to the west of the mouth of the Kamundan River, which empties from its source in the inner highlands of the far western Vogelkopf peninsula, south into the Bintuni Bay and Ceram Sea. It appears that Paul Hunger mis-located this shield at Tarof which is some 1200 kilometers northwest of the Digul River. He was possibly based at Tarof during his survey work for the Dutch SHELL oil company, yet his surveying took him all over Dutch New Guinea as well as to Borneo and beyond.

Literature: See : Inventarisierung - Ethnographischer Sammlungen In Der Schweiz. Interviews mit Sammlern und Missionaren (mit Unterstützung der Schweiz. Geisteswiss. Ges. Bern). Summlungsdossier Paul Hunger. Bearbeiter von Michael Schönhuth, Basel 1984. Neubearbeitung von Ticuno-Miguel Hunger, Reihen 2004.