Opinions on this shield please

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Opinions on this shield please

Postby RobD » 17 May 2015 20:52

Ian Knight states the common war shield in 1879 (umbumbuluzo) measured ~40 x ~20 ins, this one of mine is smaller at ~27 x ~17 ins. However, it does seem the same size as the one in this 1879 watercolour of an NNC soldier.
Any experts who can give an opinion on the authenticity of my shield?
Which regiment(s) do the brown/white colours indicate?
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Re: Opinions on this shield please

Postby mike snook » 18 May 2015 01:44

Big leap of faith to start talking about regiments Rob: it might have been made in 1920. Unless you know its provenance for certain sure, I would't worry too much about such things, but rather hang it on the wall and enjoy it for a hint of old Africa. It probably smells like old Africa if it's anything like the ones dotted about here! It might not even be Zulu. Other Nguni clans and tribes adopted much the same style, the amaNdebele (Matabele in old money, as you will know), being a very obvious example. Shields of this kind generally got smaller and smaller as the decades wore on. It could be from 1879, but that's could with a capital c. Its size certainly doesn't rule out that possibility. There are lists of shield colours by regiment knocking about, and I'm pretty sure I saw one online...but you can google as well as I can. Should hit without too much difficulty, though there is a lot of 'Zulu' the movie blather in the way these days.

As ever

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Re: Opinions on this shield please

Postby Josh&Historyland » 18 May 2015 18:58


Mike talks sense, but since I'm in a gabby move re the Zulu war I'll throw my two bits in.

The shield is very small, even given some of the silly sized umbumbulozo the younger men were carrying in 79' I'd probably call this a iHawu, which is a dancing shield. Roughly 20 inches in length would fit the bill. As for regiment that's really hard, as after Shaka the shields started to vary slightly in spot arrangement.

This colour is usually given as red and white. From a quick glance at "The Zulu War" by Angus McBride I see that the inDlondlo of Mpande's reign had a shield of red and white. And that the uDloko of the same reign had a red sheild with one white spot, but it depends how hold the thing is. Either way it's a great item.

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