Featured Need Help w/Today's Thrift Finds - Antique Wood & Forged Iron Saddle + Tall (5'6") Burano(?) Shield?

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by journeymagazine, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    Found both of these cool, unusual pieces at a local thrift store today - and as usual I need help to know what I have!?
    Can anyone tell me about the saddle? (First, please that it's not just decorative!) - the work on it is incredible & the pieces are held together with what looks like forged iron? Also a friend at the thrift store told me he thought the back wood --- flaps(?) looked like they are covered with shark skin? (4th photo)
    I also included a photo taken inside so you can see the richness of the wood's color that I think only comes from age (it's in 1st reply after all photos)

    The second piece looks like a primitive shield - and the handle on the back makes me believe it's more real than decorative, right? I've seen decorative ones & they are usually flat in back so they lay flat against a wall & usually not 5 1/2ft tall! Is it real?
    Where is it from?

    Thank you in advance for any information; I appreciate it.

  2. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    Here is photo of the saddle taken inside - it looks richer under flash than under the sun (to me!)

  3. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    Your saddle is marvellous! A true antique:)
    Yes, sharkskin on pic#4:cyclops:
    judy, LauraGarnet02, sabre123 and 2 others like this.
  4. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    Wow,very interesting and cool stuff. That saddle is unique and looks proper old to me (not a clue what is is for) The shield still looks mainly decorative to me..Very interested in that saddle..
    judy, LauraGarnet02, sabre123 and 2 others like this.
  5. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Papua New Guinea, looks like a dance shield.
    They are still making similar ones for tourists, so probably not authentic in the sense of made for genuine use. It is attractive, and I'm sure it will sell.
    judy, LauraGarnet02, sabre123 and 2 others like this.
  6. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    Saddle looks well used. Found a similar one. Vintage Tibetan Saddle.. Also has sharkskin. Says probably early twentieth century
    judy, LauraGarnet02, sabre123 and 2 others like this.
  7. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    But early 20th century. Surely must be a proper antique!
    judy and LauraGarnet02 like this.
  8. sabre123

    sabre123 Well-Known Member

    Saddle is amazing, journey
    judy, charlie cheswick and kyratango like this.
  9. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    Sharkskin = shagreen
  10. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    What is shagreen?
    judy likes this.
  11. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    Shagreen is the type of hide called sharkskin. What gets called sharkskin does not always come from sharks. If it's natural hide, it could also come from ray fish (like stingrays) or dogfish.
    judy, Any Jewelry, Sonyamcv and 3 others like this.
  12. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

  13. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    Thank you Any Jewelry! Do you think it's from Asmat tribe? (their shield designs look a little similar?)
    THANK YOU Boland - that's it! Any idea how to tell how old it is? (I read similar saddles were used in the China - Tibet areas since the 1600's!) - when did man start forging/working with iron? (or better, when did the Chinese start working with iron? - I'm going to google that!)
    Thank you both - and thank you all; I love this site!!
  14. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    Yes, it does appear to be an Asmat shield. Whether made for sale or not, I can't say (although it obviously was sold or traded at one time!)

    There is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding over the terminology and geography involved, however.

    Basically, the island of New Guinea is located in the southwest Pacific, north of Australia. The island is divided between two countries, the western half is part of Indonesia, the eastern half is the independent country of Papua New Guinea.

    To further add to the confusion, the western (Indonesian) part was formerly known as Irian Jaya, until renamed West Papua or Western New Guinea in 2002. It has two provinces, Papua, and West Papua. The Asmat live in Papua. They therefore live in part of Indonesia, and not in Papua New Guinea, which has been an independent country since 1975.

    So the shield is from Indonesia, from the province of Papua, on the island of New Guinea. But not from the independent country of Papua New Guinea.
  15. drg642

    drg642 Well-Known Member

    AJ and Taupou, you never cease to amaze.
    We are lucky to have your expertise.
  16. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    Thank you Taupou - why I live this forum: a super computer has nothing on you guys!
    A friend on FB said it looked like a yamasj (?) shield? I want to be sure I list it correctly when selling (I already put it up as a Asmat but again just want to be safe)
    Much thanks!
  17. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    Since Iron Age!:playful:
    Boland, Bakersgma and Any Jewelry like this.
  18. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    The former name is West Irian.;) Jaya means victory in Indonesian, it was added after the Indonesians invaded West Irian. It is a political name, meant to emphasize neo-colonialism.

    The Papuas had been working towards independence from the Dutch. The Java-centric Indonesian republic had just as little to do with West Irian as the Dutch had.
    To the Papuas, and to most of the world, the name continued to be West Irian. A new colonial power simply replaced the old, and they lost any chance of the independence they deserved.
    The Dutch on their part, had left independence too late. As usual.

    I like Indonesia, but that doesn't mean I agree with any neo-colonialism. I know families of Papuas who fled to the Netherlands after the 'jaya', and will never use that word in relation to their country.

    In the Netherlands: Julia Jouwe with the Morning Star flag her grandfather, Papua politician Nicolaas Jouwe, designed for the independent republic:


    And on Vanuatu (and elsewhere):

    Finally, according to Javanese myth, the invasion of West Irian was revenged by Loro Kidul, the Queen of the South Sea. She turned her army, which had been summoned in ritual by Sukarno, into rats that ate the crops on Java and caused a famine. Needless to say, even the Javanese weren't too happy with events.
    Pat Dennis and kyratango like this.
  19. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    One reason I delayed answering, was the political aspects of the whole situation. It's a long-lasting, very volatile situation, with strong feelings involved on both sides. And sticking strictly to the facts, is lengthy and complicated.

    Part of the problem is terminology. Names have been changed frequently, and often for political reasons. "Irian Jaya" as Anyjewelry pointed out, is a prime example. Before it was "renamed" that in the early 1970s, it was named "West Irian." Before that, "Netherlands New Guinea," before that, the "Dutch East Indies," etc. And often the name was not recognized by everyone, because of those very strong feelings.

    But, to slightly change the subject when it comes to names, I also wasn't sure what was meant by "Burano." That's the name of an island near Venice, Italy, but apparently has no connection with the shield, so it would be best to simply identify the shield as "Asmat," and avoid any political implications involved.
    Any Jewelry likes this.
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