Traditional War Shields

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SHEETLET

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Traditional War shield

Tribal Shields in Papua New Guinea are for open conflicts and not ambush warfare. This is the reason that they were brightly painted with dazzling designs. It represented practical and aesthetic objects for protecting one’s self in tribal warfare, events that were often situated in conflicts of identity, ritual, and social factors.

Most warfare’s in Melanesia were conducted with the use of projectiles (spears, spear throwers, throwing clubs or sticks, stones, and more recently, the bow and arrow), making the shield perfect as… well… a shield! Such objects would often be adorned with powerful motifs, colour, and symbolism to protect the carrier from magic or imbue fear in the opponent.

Shields are caved from a single piece of hardwood, pierced in the middle to hold a bush fiber rope handle. warfare was widespread among traditional enemies in the neighboring areas and alliance were made and broken regularly between groups. This shields used in battle by two men, one pushing the shield forward and another warrior hiding behind the shield and free to use his bow and arrows with great accuracy.

Standing Shields are thought to have been used in protecting villages or as stationary cover after a battle has commenced. Both of the Standing Shields are approximately 200 cm high and 40 cm wide (they are quite large!), making them ideal protective barriers. On the other hand, their size, weight and general awkwardness make these shields hard to manoeuver. Often, one warrior would be tasked with holding the shield, while another would fire arrows from behind. The first Standing Shield, featuring a colourful clan design, was collected from Kupkein Village along the upper Sepik River.

The smaller Cover or Parrying Shield would have been used to absorb blows or missiles, and has a recessed vertical grip that is typical of the New Britain Region.

Technical Details

Stamp Size
40mm x 30mm
Souvenir
Sheet Size
90mm x 75mm
Sheetlet Size
90mm x 75mm
Denomination
1.60, 3.00, 5.00 & 6.90
Sheet Contents
25
Format
Vertical
Perforation
2mm
Colours
Full Colour Process
Paper
Turis-Russel Non-Prosphor
Gum
Unwatered Mark, PVA Gummed
Printing Technique
Multi-Colour Offset, Lithography
Designer
Banian Masiboda - Art Base Advertising
Issue Date
28th July, 2023
Withdrawal Date
28th July, 2024