African American Art
Ancient American Art
Arms and Armor
Art of the Pacific Islands
Decorative Arts and Design
European Paintings Provenance Project
Native American Art
Prints and Drawings
early to mid-20th century
probably Wahgi Valley
wood, arrowheads, red ochre, charcoal, rope, and rattan
51 3/4 x 23 5/8 in. (131.5 x 60 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Leif J. Sverdrup
Place of origin:
Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
: Not On View
This shield is stone-carved and painted with clan designs in red and black. It probably held small feathers in the little holes around the painted designs. The binding over the top of the shield suggests that someone living in the Wahgi Valley made this shield. Unlike imagery used in other areas in the Highlands, the designs painted on Wahgi shields do not seem to have any meaning apart from reflecting individual identity. There are at least ten arrowheads embedded in its surface from use in battle.
c.1939-1945 - 1977
General Leif J. Sverdrup (1898-1976) and Helen L. Sverdrup, St. Louis, MO, USA, collected by General Sverdrup during World War II in Papua New Guinea 
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Mrs. Leif J. Sverdrup 
 A note on the accession record indicates this object was “collected by General L. J. Sverdrup in World War II” [SLAM document files].
 A letter dated May 18, 1977 from Lee Parsons of the Saint Louis Art Museum to Mrs. L. J. Sverdrup acknowledges the gift of this object [Director’s Office, Donor Correspondence, Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum]. Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 14, 1977.
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