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Old 30th January 2024, 05:28 PM   #1
A.alnakkas
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Default Strange Shield for Discussion

I acquired this shield, was mostly attracted to its shape and construction. But I cannot place it to any location. Any thoughts on it?
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Old 31st January 2024, 08:30 AM   #2
Gavin Nugent
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Lofty, here are a couple of links to follow and dig deeper in to. Nothing resolved within as far as I know.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14825

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22648
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Old 31st January 2024, 05:06 PM   #3
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Laboratory analysis of material and pigments would possibly provide pointers to location of origin.

Other than that, pure speculation would have to suffice.
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Old 31st January 2024, 11:49 PM   #4
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Default Shield From the Start?

Hi All,

I don't really know anything about shields but, do many have such an elaborate decoration on the inside? Then too, it appears that the hand holds and hole for the hand were added after the design was made. It seems like a lot of work for nothing to make a complex design and then destroy part of it. What is the diameter of the shield. The designs look Japanese to me. I know this sounds crazy but could this item have started life as a Jingasa?!

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Old 1st February 2024, 06:16 AM   #5
Tim Simmons
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I think you are right, a hat. Rather nice too. What looks like a handle is the soft head pad and the rings are for securing straps.
https://www.ima-usa.com/products/ori...jingasa-helmet
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Old 2nd February 2024, 01:27 AM   #6
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I don't see it as a Japanese hat, I can see parallels, however, look to the detail of the handle and manner of the handle strap.

They are secured externally like the Somali Gaashaan and Ethiopian Amhara and Oromo shields, and share similar external profiles to the Ethiopian types. The knuckle pad and grip and straps within are distinctly different though.

With these examples under discussion, note one is clearly a cylindrical grip, the other a wrist strap, this feature is found in the others previously under discussion. Certainly not a hat to my eyes when looking at the pieces together and how they function.

I feel these are from the horn of African, where exactly, I cannot say, but lean more to Ethiopia as red was also a very popular colour on the inside of their shields and there was a vast array of styling within the shape of this shield type too.
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Old 2nd February 2024, 02:07 AM   #7
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I have seen a few Jingasa’s and from what I remember the section that hangs over the ears were either cotton or silk, not leather or leather covered.
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Old 2nd February 2024, 02:24 PM   #8
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With a little bit of imagination the main element of the decoration could represent a coptic cross.
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Old 2nd February 2024, 04:16 PM   #9
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Looking at the top of the shield, there appears to be a hole; if so there was probably a metal boss there at one time. This, as well as the handhold set up inside of the item, makes me think that it was always a shield.
The colors and the artwork made me also think that this item was Ethiopian or that surrounding area.
Once again the material of the "item," would be most helpful in providing other clues.
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Old 3rd February 2024, 12:42 AM   #10
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Default Unaddressed Questions Needing Answers

Hi All,

Three questions remain:
Are there any examples of shields with elaborate designs on the inside?
Why was this complex design so crudely destroyed to make room for the grip and padding?
What is the diameter of the piece?

drac2k,
The piece that went inside the hole could indeed have been a shield boss or it could just as well have been a helmet finial of some sort. I agree with you that knowing whether the item is lacquered or not would be very helpful.

Richard G,
I have seen a good number of Ethiopian crosses in silver. I can't recall any that looked like what is on the item.

kino,
The above mentioned finial could quite possibly be used to affix any padding, ear flaps, and straps. If the item was originally a jingasa, then the leather isn't original to the piece.

Gavin Nugent,
I have a real problem with the way the leather straps work with the design on the face of the shield. They don't. They are just punched through the design haphazardly. You would think that all design and practical elements would be made to work harmoniously together as they do on your examples.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 3rd February 2024, 11:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT View Post
Hi All,

I have a real problem with the way the leather straps work with the design on the face of the shield. They don't. They are just punched through the design haphazardly. You would think that all design and practical elements would be made to work harmoniously together as they do on your examples.

Sincerely,
RobT
To be fair, none of the region do really work in harmony in that they are punched through and do cover aspects of tooling and paint inside and out on the types, but, it can be seen externally they have been painted to match the external on these examples.

Another aspect I noted in the last day, the "X" motifs seen on this one, http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22648
They are very common on Somali shields, painted within the inner motifs of the Somali Gaashaan.
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Old 3rd February 2024, 01:33 PM   #12
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Very interesting but it still does not resemble anything like the construction of the Somali {East African } shields we all more familiar with. Could the painting be Burmese ? I seen painted sticks. Still see a leather helmet the pad so the cone is not forced on your head.
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Old 4th February 2024, 04:51 AM   #13
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Default Diameter Needed

Hi All,
The original post was a request for information on the origin of the item. I have asked twice for the diameter of the piece. This is a simple request that may be critical to the item's identification but thus far, the original poster has failed to respond. Also note that, although information on the materials used to make the item has been asked for, the original poster has not given any information on same. One would think that, if the original poster is really serious about getting an ID for the item, he would have provided the requested information.

Gavin Nugent,
I don't see a real design correlation between the example provided in your latest link and the item currently under discussion. The design example provided by Ibrahiim Balooshi in that link is strongly geometric with the design and background closely tied together. In short, it looks Islamic. To my eye, the subject of this thread has a far different treatment of design and negative (background) space and that aesthetic looks far more Asian. I also should note that the respondents to that thread were quite divided and a link to an even prior thread didn't lead to any solid consensus either.

My proposal is that the shield started life as a Japanese jingasa worn by a samurai mercenary in South East Asia and was converted by the native population to a buckler. Mercenary samurai were employed all over SEA so jingasa were probably relatively common and a reasonable number became available to native craftsmen for conversion. This would explain why the conversion elements (hand straps and padding) don't work with the original design.

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RobT
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Old 4th February 2024, 05:03 AM   #14
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Hi Rob,

You have proposed an interesting origin for this shield. I hope the originator of this thread gets back to us shortly with the information that you requested. Sometimes other life issues get in the way of ethnographic arms and armour discussions and a prompt reply to questions asked.
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Old 4th February 2024, 02:46 PM   #15
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Default Diameter Estimate

Ian,
You are correct of course and I need to take a deep breath.

Using the first two picturesI provided, I believe that we can get an approximate diameter for the item. The mid century modern sofa and chair legs shown in the second photo are typically 1-7/8” to 2” at the bottom. Using that as a guide we can estimate the width of the floor planks as between 3” to 4”. Conveniently, the item is positioned at the front edge of one plank and is just shy of the back edge of the fourth plank. This yields an estimate of just under 12” to just under 16”.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 4th February 2024, 05:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi Rob,

You have proposed an interesting origin for this shield. I hope the originator of this thread gets back to us shortly with the information that you requested. Sometimes other life issues get in the way of ethnographic arms and armour discussions and a prompt reply to questions asked.
That is indeed what is happening. I promise Rob though, I'll get back to him with a few thoughts and dimensions asap.
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Old 6th February 2024, 03:47 PM   #17
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apologies for the late reply.

The shield diameter is 47 cm or 18.5 inches. The shield will be shipped to me later on and I can do more measurements, its currently in the care of my friend in the US, Nate Hope.

Here are some thoughts, I believe its a shield and it being a hat (or a helm) is farfetched. I think so because the handles are too close to each other and too far up, along with the cushion which appears if its for a head, it wont do much cushioning. Unless its specifically was made for a person with an extremely long forehead and ears up high in their head.

A feature I noticed is that the two straps are consistently made of different material and different fitting method in my shield and others shared by Gavin. It appears that one strap is made of leather and the other is made of wood fitted with two thin leather straps. The fact that its on the 3 items available for us to examine shows purposefulness and an odd option to do for a hat.
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Old 7th February 2024, 01:54 AM   #18
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Default A Proposal

A Alnakkus,

Thanks for the diameter. Armed with that information, I did a google search to see what the typical jingasa diameter was. I only looked at jingasa shaped like your item and the items in the other two threads. I did find one jingasa with an 18.5 inch diameter and three with 17 to 17.5 inch diameters but the bulk of the examples were about 16 to 16.5 inches. The next most common diameter was 14 to 14.5 inches.

I don’t believe the reasons you cite to discount my theory are valid because, if the item started out as a jingasa, the current close together handles and scanty padding would not have been original to the piece but only would have been added when the item was repurposed from a hat to a shield.

Perhaps with your permission (and subject to the moderator’s approval), a request could be placed on the Nihonto Message Board asking them to have a look at this thread (and the other two). If any folks could give us a yea or nay on the jingasa theory it would be them.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 7th February 2024, 02:40 AM   #19
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Thanks Rob, I am quite interested in their information so please do!
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Old 8th February 2024, 08:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT View Post
A Alnakkus, ...

Perhaps with your permission (and subject to the moderator’s approval), a request could be placed on the Nihonto Message Board asking them to have a look at this thread (and the other two). If any folks could give us a yea or nay on the jingasa theory it would be them.

Sincerely,
RobT
Rob, I don't see any problem with contacting the Nihonto Message Board and requesting an opinion on this item, provided A A is okay with that. Ian
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Old 8th February 2024, 11:38 AM   #21
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The construction of the grips and material used gives some info on how its used? all the available examples for us to examine have the same construction with one strap made of leather and the other made of wood.
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Old 9th February 2024, 12:00 AM   #22
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Default Info Request Sent

Hi All,

I posted an ID request in the katchu section of the Nihonto Message Board. Hopefully, we will either get a positive ID or be able to rule out the Japanese jingasa theory.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 9th February 2024, 02:43 AM   #23
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Here is a link to the NMB thread:
https://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topi...sible-jingasa/

A jingasa was certainly my own first thought when this item was posted.
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Old 9th February 2024, 04:53 AM   #24
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I ran a broad image search over "Inside a jingasa".

It seems all I found has mounting points for the chin straps and head pads that all look much further spaced than this hand grip, yet none of these shields show any indication of having such broader mounting points originally?
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Old 11th February 2024, 03:01 PM   #25
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Default Nihonto Message Board Response

Hi All,
There has been one response from the Nihonto Message Board. The respondent supports my opinion with, “my vote is for Jingasa, in origin at least”. I have requested that other members weigh in, especially with any information they may have about the design motif on the shield currently under discussion as well as the motifs on the two shields in the previous threads.

A Alnakkas,
I think the wooden grip is rigidly attached to the shield to prevent it from wobbling when hit with an opponent’s weapon. The leather grip is designed to be pulled to the wooden grip when the user’s fist is clenched, thus allowing the user to hold the shield rigidly.

Gavin Nugent,
From what I can see online there appear to be at least two methods for mounting jingasa straps and padding. In one method, the mounting points are on a circular and slightly domed metal plate attached to the inside of the jingasa and on the other the mounting points are part of the inside of the jingasa. I think the metal plate method may have been used when the jingasa had a metal finial and the other method was used on jingasa without finials. There may have been more attachment methods. In any event, the areas cut away on the inside of the shields in the previous threads appear to me to have been sufficiently large to have accommodated jingasa mounting points. The shield currently under discussion has a hole in the top so it may have used the finial/mounting plate method. In this case, the finial and plate could have been removed to allow the shield grips and padding to be added.

Sincerely,
RobT

Last edited by RobT; 11th February 2024 at 04:43 PM. Reason: add'l info
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Old 18th February 2024, 01:55 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT View Post
I think the wooden grip is rigidly attached to the shield to prevent it from wobbling when hit with an opponent’s weapon. The leather grip is designed to be pulled to the wooden grip when the user’s fist is clenched, thus allowing the user to hold the shield rigidly.
RobT,

Depending what the origins end up being on the type, this may not be true of the leather strap.

When considering 4 boss India shields with only leather straps, this can be seen as so.
With 6 boss, the 3rd pair with a strap act as a supporting wrist strap whilst the other two are grasped.
Often lost from these Indian shields is a simple shoulder or back carrying strap that is looped through the grip straps.

The type under discussion, if using the India type as a guide is a "4 boss"

If this is found to be SEA in origins, only that timber section is gripped whilst the strap slips over the wrist.
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Old 18th February 2024, 01:58 AM   #27
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Saw this while looking through the book 'Shields Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania' and thought it might pertain to this discussion.
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