Current Pitt Rivers Museum information about the shields displayed in Bethnal Green Museum

Australian Heileman or Shield

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Parrying sticks and shields, Africa

Parrying shields of double antelopes' horns, India

Long narrow shields from the Asiatic Isles

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Find out more about Australian shields

1874 catalogue entry:
56 to 58. SHIELDS of the form called Mulabakka, showing a further increase in breadth, with projecting ends for parrying.
Compare these ends with the stick of the Caffir shield, No. 65, used for the same purpose. These Australian shields are, in some places, called Wadna, and some idea of the slight value which aboriginal names afford as conveying a correct idea of the thing named may be formed from the circumstance that on seeing for the first time an English boat, they called it Wadna, from its resemblance to their shields. In Victoria this kind of shield goes by the name of Turnmung, the great divergence in the names as contrasted with the resemblance in form, will be noticed.

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Pitt Rivers Museum record:
General Description: Australian shield, made of wood, painted.
Accession number: 1884.30.17
Continent: Australia Country: Australia Region: ?Victoria ?New South Wales
Dimensions: L = 1000 mm, max W = 310 mm
When collected: ?Prior to 1874
Other owners: Pitt Rivers sent this object to Bethnal Green Museum for display by ?early 1874.
Black book entry - Screen 2 13 - 15 Shields, Mulabakka, greater width (56 - 58).
Delivery Catalogue II entry - Shields from different localities. Wood shield, mulabakka. Australia 58
Accession Book IV entry - Mulabakka, broader with whitened longitudinal zigzags and central band. N Australia [Drawing]
Card Catalogue entry - ALF 58. 1884.30.17. N Australia. 58 = 15 black. Wooden shield, mulabakka, of long rather broad elliptical form, with projecting parrying-sticks carved out at the ends, with whitened longitudinal zigzags and central band.
Written on object - Mulabakka N Australia PR 58 [note that the N [ie North] has been crossed out, presumably at a later date]
Printed label stuck to object - 15
Other information - Originally attributed to North Australia. Identified by Howard Morphy, 1988 as being ?Victoria ?New South Wales. Displayed in 'The First Australians' exhibition at PRM, 1988-89. Displayed in Bethnal Green and South Kensington Museums (V&A). The handle is carved out of the whole, the shield is flat across shield surface. The shield is decorated with red and white pigment, the red has been used for the wide line down the middle and triangles around the edges, the incised lines are marked with white pigment.
PR number: 58

Displayed in Upper Gallery Shield displays at Pitt Rivers Museum.

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