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Old 15th September 2017, 03:49 PM   #1
Tim Simmons
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Default 3 Apache shields.

Apache shields in the National Museum of Anthropology Mexico City. They are large and i imagine they are quite heavy.
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Old 15th September 2017, 04:38 PM   #2
Martin Lubojacky
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Thank you Tim. First time I can see Apache shields.
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Old 15th September 2017, 05:08 PM   #3
Kubur
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Thanks

A bit similar to the Aztec ones...

They were cousins isn't?
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Old 15th September 2017, 06:56 PM   #4
Tim Simmons
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here is an Aztec one.
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Old 15th September 2017, 08:56 PM   #5
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Dimensions / Weight
Dimensions: 25" H x 17" W

Physical Description
Rawhide, convex in form, with totemic device in blue and black paint. Around the margin is a border of red flannel with sewed eagle feathers

Specific History
This shield was collected by William Frederick Milton Arny in 1872. From 1861–1875 Arny served as Indian agent for the Apache, Ute and Navajo and special agent for the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. He presented the shield to the National Museum on 12 June 1872.
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Old 15th September 2017, 09:10 PM   #6
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From http://blog.csfineartscenter.org/20...day-native.html

Quote"When thinking about shields, protection from physical harm may be the first idea that comes to mind. However, many Native Americans did not use shields merely for physical protection, but more as a form of spiritual guidance and protection, symbolizing a person’s experience during a vision quest.

Vision quests are a rite of passage, and represent the transition from childhood to adulthood. Quests required an individual to be alone in the wilderness, sometimes lasting up to four days. During this time, a person becomes connected with the spirit world, and would receive a vision by an animal or totem. After the quest was over, their vision would be interpreted by a medicine man or spiritual leader. The "interpretation" is transferred to the shield using various colors, designs and natural elements, and symbolizes the person's source of protection and power.

Keeping shields safe is important as they provide spiritual protection to the owner. Shields are carried or placed in a location of honor. They are often difficult to find in museums because there are usually buried with their owner, continuing to protect the spirit even in death and ensure a safe return to Mother Earth."Unquote.

On view in Honoring A Legacy: Breastplate (Sioux)
Breastplate (Mescalero Apache); Shield (Apache)
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Old 16th September 2017, 03:52 PM   #7
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Outstanding examples of Apache shields!
Ibrahiim, thank you for the excellent input and references which give us a bit more dimension in understanding the character of shields in the American Indian culture.

As noted, the purpose of the shield in these tribes was not technically for physical defense (though obviously they were in some degree) but far more spiritually oriented. As well illustrated in the wide variations of decoration and motif, each shield was very personal to its owner, and as indicated, these designs and patterns were totemic and spiritually symbolic to the individual.

These circular shields were much smaller than the far earlier examples, as of course when warriors became mounted with the advent of the use of horses, the 'pedestrian' or dismounted types were far too large to carry.

In travelling through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana I have had great opportunities to learn a bit more about these fascinating tribes, but have barely even scratched the surface of understanding these amazing cultures. In the Buffalo Bill museum in Cody , Wyoming there are wonderful examples of shields, many are from the Crow, Shoshone and other tribes.

In Montana, a place called Bear Gulch (near Lewiston north of Billings) there are phenomenal petroglyphs which apparently can in many cases be dated to very ancient times. This seems to be an area where these 'vision quests' were accomplished and the designs and symbols often seen are among those transcribed onto the many shield designs. In another location, such petroglyphic or pictographic 'art' is at a location termed "Valley of the Shields".

With regard to the relationships of these tribes to the Aztecs, it is perhaps correct in degree that some of the Plains Tribes were related in a sense. It seems that mostly tribes were anthropologically classified in a linguistic fashion, though clearly there are genetic associations in other perspectives.

The Aztecs were in the Nahuatl group, which actually more aligns with tribes in America such as Shoshone and Ute, while the Apache are of the Athabaskan groups associated with the northwest into Alaska. Though the Aztecs ceased effectively as a distinct ethnic or tribal people in the 16th century, their genetic and ethnic character of course assimilated widely.
Their influences and similarities were also quite apparent in many tribes in America, and there is evidence of trade connections that were in place over centuries.

I would include that certain Apache tribal groups did situate in the northern regions of Mexico, so in that respect were somewhat geographically in areas where Aztec influences would have prevailed traditionally.

The 'chimalli' or Aztec shield, while having many similarities in its decoration and devices, though artistically distinct to Aztec character, had a very different means of representation. It seems these were more aligned to certain achievements of the user which became signals of status, and again, while serving nominally as protection, its symbolism was key to the status of the user.

Some good references q.v. :
"Ancient Visions" , Julie E. Francis; Lawrence L. Loendorf, 2002

"Native American Weapons", Colin F. Taylor, 2001

"Native North American Armor, Shields and Fortifications",
David E. Jones, 2004

"Plains Indian Museum Curators Notes"
Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming

"Fraternity of War", Luciano L'Abate; James Keyser; George Roetschat
This is on the Bear Gulch and Atherton Canyon petroglyphs
available through Oregon Archaeological Society

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 16th September 2017 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 16th September 2017, 06:37 PM   #8
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Thank you Tim for posting this thread and thank you Ibrahiim And Jim for your extremely interesting replies, fascinating.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 17th September 2017, 04:51 PM   #9
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Old 18th September 2017, 08:11 PM   #10
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Ibrahiim,
Thank you for that link!
I was already intrigued by these shields and designs as we went through Wyoming and Montana and saw many examples in the museums. It seems that while many were buried with their owners, certain ones with significantly powerful tribal figures were passed on. Some of these are among those captured or turned over to government in arrangements.

Some time ago I was studying 'rock art' and the pictographs found in European caves which derive from prehistoric man, and the nature of the symbols and designs. Much of this apparently was profoundly associated with shamanic activity, trances, and entoptic circumstances from visions etc.

Considering the migrations of these early tribal people into the America's, it is fascinating to consider these phenomenon over many thousands of years and carried forth into the tribal tradition and religious beliefs. These tribal groups of Native Americans are actually quite amazing, and the more we learn about them, the more we realize how much so.

Apparantly the symbolism used in these designs and devices was of course remarkably personal, and often had variant meaning to each individual, as well as within different tribal groups. Though there were some certain symbols with a degree of universality, their allegorical content might be notably deviated from these as placed with other such devices.

It seems there have been some attempts at interpreting some of the shield designs, and with certain success in some cases, however many remain a mystery as to exact significance. In one case, an attempt to inquire with a person from one tribe on the designs seen on an example from another, and they declined, noting they were not permitted to discuss such matters of another tribe or person.
Interestingly, there are certain parallels to the evolution of heraldry in European and other cultures, with stringent parallels and protocol very much in place.
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Old 18th September 2017, 10:01 PM   #11
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Thanks Jim, Before venturing into the unknown (for me) just to pause and observe the ethnographic angle for a moment where the faces of those warriors and others can be seen at;

https://www.pinterest.com/meltdown/...erican/?lp=true


Here are some more shields for study ..
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 18th September 2017 at 10:21 PM.
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