Faiwol Shield-Ok Min Culture-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
This style of New Guinea shield is often lumped together as coming from Telefomin—probably because Telefomin has a good airstrip and lots of similar shields were collected there. Yet, the area around Telefomin is huge, mountainous and most of the people used war shields. To the south of Telefomin live the Faiwol speakers and this is where this shield originates. It was collected by the patrol officer Laurie Bragge in 1970—see attached field photo—in Biangabip village, at the headwaters of the Palmer River—a tributary of the Upper Fly River. The shield was formerly part of the Jolika Collection of Marcia and John Friede and has been published twice—first in “Shields of Melanesia” edited by Harry Beran and Barry Craig, 2005, fig. 5.9 and then in the massive “New Guinea Highlands: Art from the Jolika Collection” 2017, Fig. 16.23. The shield has a classic composition, nice remains of traditional pigments, substantial signs of traditional use, dates to the late 19th/early 20th century, is 61 1/8” (155.2 cm) in height.