Kikuyu Ndome Shield
Kikuyu people, Central Highlands of Kenya, Africa
Late 19th to early 20th century
Wood with polychrome pigments
14 1/2" (w) x 20 1/2" (l) x 4" (d)
This shield was not used in battle, but rather as part of a rite-of-passage ritual in Kikuyu culture. A dancer would wear this shield high above his head during an initiation ceremony that precededs male circumcision. Several boys are circumcised at one time during the ceremony and form a distinct age set or rika. After the ceremony the boys become warriors and can participate in raids (particularly of the neighbouring Massai's livestock) and in defending their village.
Inventory no. 6599
Price on request.