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Battara 26th May 2014 04:08 AM

Bagobo Shield
4 Attachment(s)
Greetings folks!

I got this last year and finished restoring it last month. I replaced some of the missing mother-of-pearl inlay, a piece of the tip on the top of one side, and the missing top panel (which I tried to match in patina color as best as possible).

In the middle of the central boss projection is a little mirror and the whole "disc" is surrounded by pig hair.

Note: many of what we see have missing tops because they were bound in a mortise and tenon construction kept in place by rattan bindings.

Also I replaced the missing and broken rattan bindings.

On the back there is only carving and paint (no MOP). However the handle is thick and bookended with the carved heads of carabao (water buffalos) with white metal eyes.

From top to bottom the shield is 3.13 feet tall and all carved of one piece (except the very top).

I hope my pictures are better in this post than previous ones (same camera, different working of my iPhoto program).


Sajen 26th May 2014 03:09 PM

Hello Jose,

very nice Bagobo shield and as usual great restore job! :) I like special the carabao heads at the handle.
And the pictures now much better! ;) :cool:


Battara 29th May 2014 02:08 AM

Thanks Detlef. Again when I take a break once a week from doing other people's stuff and changing how I do my lousy photo editing skills.......

Sajen 29th May 2014 07:44 AM

Originally Posted by Battara
Thanks Detlef. Again when I take a break once a week from doing other people's stuff and changing how I do my lousy photo editing skills.......

:D :D :D I think it's just the iphone, a camera around $100 can do a much better job!


kronckew 29th May 2014 09:39 AM

nice shield - is it upside down? handgrip is below the centre of gravity in the pics...

CharlesS 29th May 2014 11:30 AM

I remember this one Jose. You did a great job restoring the top and especially matching up the colors. I am sure that it was no easy job to find the appropriate wood.

Good work.

Battara 29th May 2014 06:04 PM

Thank you folks.

Believe or not, Detlef, I use such a camera but am revising my editing techniques.

Kroncew, I have seen old pictures of these in Bagobo warriors' hands, and this is the side they have up with rounded side on the bottom. It appears several museums and catalogs have them upside down. However, I noticed that the tops of these are mortise and tenoned on lashed with rattan. I wonder if in actual use they cut the rattan, which means that it becomes more balanced.

Charles, I got lucky with the wood, but matching the patina close enough, that was hard........

kronckew 30th May 2014 07:56 AM

i've seen a couple of photos with the flat end down, and some where the grip looks more central where it wouldn't matter. it's possible that the one you have has the grip at the physical balance point rather than the geometric. how does it feel in the hand either way round if you move with it? the narrow top section does seem to be an afterthought. is it thinner than the rest? that would affect balance.

i'm only familiar with symmetrical roman and viking shields where the hand grip is at the geometric and physical balance centre rather than ones like this which are vertically asymmetrical.

Oliver Pinchot 30th May 2014 02:25 PM


You did a beautiful job restoring this rare shield, thanks for posting images of it. From the color I would guess it's mahogany? The period photos I've seen invariably show it with the rounded edge down, that is when being held by a Bagobo.

kino 3rd June 2014 03:40 PM

Do you have any before photos?
If you hadn't mentioned what you replaced, I would've guessed that it was all original by looking at the photos. Good job!

What type of material did you use to match the coloring, vegetable matter, dye, paint?

A seasoned collector once told me that, for the color white, the Moros used a mixture of crushed seashells and milk.

Battara 3rd June 2014 07:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Oliver, yes I used mahogany for the top to best match the shield wood.

Kino, I used a mixture of stains, paint, and sealant. Now as far as the missing mother-of-pearl, I used........mother-of-pearl, cutting and shaping it to make the missing shell pieces.

White from shell and milk?............interesting and thank you.

Here is a picture of the shield before restoration.

billevans 8th June 2014 12:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a photo of a similar shield in my collection.

Battara 20th June 2014 01:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a picture of my Bagobo shield mounted on the wall.

I made the mount out of scrap paduk wood scraps.

Battara 5th November 2017 06:25 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Ok after some more research, here is the final version of the restored shield.

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