Lot: 55

101st Auction

Shield "wunda" and spear thrower "woomera""


Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Sotheby's London, 28 November 1994, Lot 61 (a), Lot 62 (b)
Rudolf Leopold, Vienna, Austria
900 EUR
plus 27 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance


a) shield "wunda", red and white ochre, h: 64 cm
"Wunda" were used in fighting for protection against spears and boomerangs. They were also carried by performers in ritual contexts, especially when reenacting specific episodes from the Dream Time.

b) spear thrower "woomera", remains of spinifex resin in the grip zone, h: 59 cm, old label reading "Australian Aborigine Body Shield and Instrument used for Defence - Very rare Carving"

"Woomera" were used as a lever to project spears with great force. It increased the range and speed of the spear. Additionally the spear-thrower served as a multifunctional tool doubling as a serving plate for food, a palette for preparing and mixing paint, as well as part of a fire-making unit.