War shields are among the most striking forms of sculpture of the Asmat people who inhabit southern Irian Jaya. The power of these shields come from threatening symbols of plant, animal and ancestors carved in relief and which are designed to intimidate enemies into submission. This shield comes from the central Asmat region. The head of the shield is crowned by a small ancestral figure.The center of the shield depicts stylized ancestor figures. Each half of the body represents a praying mantis, an important head hunting symbol. The entire shield is colored white, red, and black using natural dyes. A similar example is in the Barbier Mueller collection.
Ex. Finette Lemaire (Amsterdam).