The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

Hide shield with charms

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: Shield with charms attached to the handle, taken by the British Museum’s expert on the expedition, Richard Rivington Holmes

Where: The British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

Provenance: Maqdala referenced at length in the museum’s acquisition notes.

The catalogue entry reads:

“Shield made of hide, hippo or buffalo. The circular shield is domed with a central, integral boss and raised, rolled rim. The upper surface of the shield is decorated with a tooled linear pattern of concentric circles and a radial pattern around the boss. Two hide thongs pass through the front of the shield, secured with large knots either side of the boss securing the hide handle at the back. The handle is made of wood covered with hide. Attached to the handle, on a hide thong, are four small charm cases made of stitched cotton and leather. Around the rim of the shield are a series of seventeen holes. A hide thong is passed through two of these, knotted at the front, with a loop at the back. This is attached to the charms by a length of iron wire. One other hide thong is knotted through one of the holes, the other end is broken.”

Museum number: Af1868,1001.32
Date: 19thC
Previous owner/ex-collection: Sir Richard Rivington Holmes
Acquisition date: 1868

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