Antique Shield – SIDAMO – Shewa Region, Ethiopia


End 19th century, early 20th century. Embossed and Engraved skin. Diameter cm. 48,5 (19.09″). Excellent general conditions.

The Sidama are an ethnic Cushitic people traditionally inhabiting the Sidama Zone of the Southern Ethiopia. They speak the Sidamo language, which is a language of the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family.

Sidamo shields in former times were carried by the Kaffa, a member of the Sidamo group. The shield is surrounded by a thick rim which is supposed to prevent a spear or blade from sliding off it. Leather bindings were used from the back through the front to reinforce the shield.

The Sidama preserved their cultural heritage, including their traditional religion and language despite the conquest by Emperor Menelik II.

The Sidama had their own well-established administrative systems that dated at least to the 9th century, though it was made up of a loose coalition of Sidama kingdoms. The region shows the extraordinary military-mindedness of past epochs, with entire communities surrounded by walls and garrisons.

Most Sidamo have retained their traditional religion based on worship of the sky god. Their political organization is monarchical: a divine king is a representative of the sky god.


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Weight5050 g