Oromo Warrior Shield. Ethiopia. E. 20th Century. Hippopotamus Leather. 21” diameter X 10” deep

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Warrior Shield
Oromo people
Hippopotamus Hide
Early 20th century

21” diameter x 10” deep

Collected by naturalist and philanthropist, Eli Weiss in the 1980’s.

This shield was used in battle and in ceremony by a number of cultures throughout central and southern Ethiopia including the Oromo, Sidamo, and Shoa.
Made by craftsmen known as chawa in Oromo, awada in Hadiya and Kambata, and faki in Amharic handmade these shields.
In former times, the Arussi obtained the raw material for their shields through their outcast hunter and potter caste (the wata or awata), who subsisted mainly on hunting hippopotamus (Barbier, Boyer, Benitez-Johannot, Shields: Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, 2000). 

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