Summary

The diversity of iconography and patterning to be found in the designs painted onto objects made and used by Aboriginal people reinforces the strong cultural distinctions that exist across Aboriginal Australia.This distinctive nineteenth century shield is typical in shape to those associated with the Queensland, and is provenanced to Port Mackay on the Capricornia coast of central Queensland. However it is unusually incised and has a distinctive geometric patterning of red and black, the latter not commonly used by Aboriginal people in painting except in discrete areas of Australia. The design has been overlaid on a base of white pipe clay left at the ends to form bands. Little documentation accompanies this shield other than its association with the collection of Isidore de Beer in 1891. The wood is said to have been Kurrajong or Brachychiton species. The name is recorded as 'goolmary' however it is not clear if this refers to the shield or the wood or even the group it originates from.

Physical Description

An oval softwood shield made from a single piece of wood painted with natural pigments. Geometric patterning incised into the convex outer surface is painted black and three grids on either side are highlighted with yellow. The handle is carved into the reverse side.

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