Zulu shield, 1879 (c)
This large cowhide 'ishilunga' shield was taken at the Battle of Ulundi on 4 July 1879, an engagement that witnessed the final destruction of the Zulu Army of King Cetshwayo. The colour of a shield helped identify warriors in battle as well as whether they were married or not. Many great warriors had white shields with one or two spots, the young and inexperienced had black shields whilst the middle warriors had red and white shields. The patterning on the shield also identified which 'Impi' or regiment the warrior fought with.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Battle gallery
Browse related themes