The African shield is coveted and paraded as a badge of honor in the same manner as the warriors spear. Used offensively and defensively, the shield plays a vital part in African warfare. As far back as the 19th century the Azande people of the Congo were feared and successful warriors. It was observed that they used a weapon referred to as a throwing knife, a mulit-bladed metal weapon up to 2 1/2 feet in length with one plain flat side and one decorated or embossed side with a long grip handle of bare metal, hide or reptile skin. As noted by the famed anthropologist Evans-Pritchard: "If he was a regular member of a company he would also hold in his left hand, pressed against the handle of the shield up to four throwing knives ." In 1925 adventurer Emil Torday relayed: "The first attack was made of arrows...then all of a sudden some objects glittering in the sun as if they were thunderbolts come whirling with a weird hum through the air...it smites the warrior behind his defense with its cruel blades." The Azande warrior utilized the long oblong wickerwork shield on display for defense but it also most importantly served to conceal their perhaps deadliest weapon, the throwing knife.
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Dimensions: 50 1/2 inches tall x 16 inches wide
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