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Philippines Igorot Headhunter Wooden Shield "Kalasag"

Philippines Ethnic Primitive Headhunter Wooden Shield

This wooden shield perhaps a warrior's primitive tool but it is very effective for its purpose - shielding the body from attacks and if the warrior has the opportunity the shields' single curve design at the bottom will be used to pin down the enemy by the neck for brutal head cutting. This wooden shield design is endemic to the Igorot tribe of the Philippines particularly Igorots from Bontoc and Kalinga - Apayao.

This is probably a mid-19th to early 20th century Bontoc Igorot weapon locally known as "kalasag". Made from a quality wood. It shows apparent war use. Excellent authentic patina!

Dimensions: Height - 33" ; Width - 11.8" ; Thickness of wood 0.5" - 0.6". Depth from back to front - 3.4"


Similar pictures captured about 1900's by Dean Worcester and Albert Jenks

bontoc men with wooden shieldkalinga men with wooden shield


First set of pictures are similar shields by Bontoc People. Second set are samples of Kalinga make which is bigger and with longer projectile points.

Wooden Weapons - Excerpts from the book - The Bontoc Igorot by Albert Jenks

Shields are universally made and used by the Igorot. They are made by the men of each pueblo, and are seldom bought or sold. They are cut from single pieces of wood, and are generally constructed of very light wood, though some are heavy. The hand grip is cut in the solid timber, is almost invariably made for the left hand, and will usually accommodate only three fingers—the thumb and little finger remaining outside the grip and free to press forward the upper and lower ends of the shield, respectively, slanting it to glance a blow of a spear.

Within the present boundary of Bontoc Province there are three distinct patterns of wooden shields in use in three quite distinct culture areas. There is still another shield immediately beyond the western border of the province but which is believed to be produced also in the Bontoc area.

First, is the shield of the Bontoc culture area. It is usually about 3 feet long and 1 foot wide, is blackened with a greasy soot, though now and again one in original wood is seen. The upper part or “chief” of the shield is cut, leaving three points projecting several inches above the solid field; the lower end or “base” is cut, leaving two points. Across both ends of the shield is a strengthening lace of bejuco, passing through perforations from front to back. The front surface of the shield is most prominent over the deep-cut hand grip at the boss or “fess point,” toward which a wing approaches on both the dexter and sinister sides of the front of the shield, being carved slightly on the field. This is the usual Bontoc shield, but some few have meaningless straight-line decorations cut in the field.

Very rare primitive weapon which you see not often offered anywhere! If you collect such items this piece is an excellent addition to your collections guaranteed!

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  • Shipping Weight (Plus Packaging): 1500grams