Asmat shields were created as functional items for warfare, and were meant to protect the user from the spears and arrows of his enemy. At the same time, the imagery that is carved and painted on the surface of the shield endows the piece with the power of the ancestors. Wood carving is a flourishing tradition among the Asmat, and wood carvers are held in high esteem. The culture hero Fumeripits is considered to be the very first wood carver, and all subsequent wood carvers have an obligation to continue his work.
190.5 cm high
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