A kanta shield from Celebes

3,500.00

The ‘Kanta’ is a rare type of war shield used in Celebes, in the area of the Gulf of Tomini. It’s rather uncertain which exact indigenous tribe specifically used this type of shield. But old documentation and literature tells us it was used by the Toraja, Topebato and Kulawi people. The shield were layed in with nassa shells and pieces of mother of pearl or bone.

Gulf of Tomini, Central Celebes – Indonesia – circa 1900

Materials: Wood, Rattan,Nassa shells, Bone, Goathair.

Status: Available

3,500.00

Description

The ‘Kanta’ is a rather long and slender shield with a V-shaped front. The shield tapers towards the lower and upper ends and is decorated with bone inlay triangles and nassa shells. The front shows overlapping tufts of goathair and is dyed black, likely done with squid ink.
It is made of one single piece of wood with an intergrated handle on the inside. The shield is reinforced with twelve rattan bands to prevent it from shattering when being strucked. Six on the lower end and six on the upper body of the shield. The backside is smooth and undecorated.

 

Warrior from Celebes with Kanta shield
a warrior from Celebes with kanta shield and morion style helmet. (collection Tropenmuseum)
A Dutch Salvation Army Officer with three old Toraja Warriors w Kanta shield 1930
A Dutch Salvation Army Officer with three old Toraja Warriors with Kanta shield in 1930. (collection Tropenmuseum)
Toraja warriors with Kanta shields
Toraja warriors with Kanta shields, Early 20th century. (collection Tropenmuseum)

Condition: Very good, no cracks or damage. Some bone inlay triangles are professionally restored, the goat hair and shells are entirely original. An excellent example of a rare type of shield that vanished during the 20th century.

Provenance: Dutch Private Collection.

Dimensions:
Height: 115cm
Length: 14cm
Width: 13cm

Comparable examples:

– Bronbeek Museum Arnhem ass. nr. 2003/00-22
– Ethnographic Museum of the Military Academy Breda ass. nr.RMV3600-5831
– Collection Tropenmuseum ass. nr. 1772-431

References:

– A. Zonnevelds ‘ Traditional weapons of the Indonesian Archipelago’ pg.60.
– Catalogus Bronbeek Museum pg. 18/19.
– H.J. Voskuil, ‘Over Inheemse Wapens in den Oost-Indischen Archipel’ (Sixt year 1921-1922).
– A. Grubauer, Unter KopfjÀger in Central Celebes. (R. Voigtlander 1913).
– Shields from Africa, South East Asia, and Oceania, Benitez & Barbier pg. 156/157
A kanta shield from the Toraja

 

A kanta shield from the Toraja A kanta shield from the Toraja A kanta shield from the Toraja

A kanta shield from the Toraja A kanta shield from the Toraja A kanta shield from the Toraja

A kanta shield from the Toraja

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