SW-25 Phantom Shield

Shields & Weapons

SW-25 Phantom Shield

Wahgi Valley, Papua New Guinea Highlands

“Phantom” is emblazoned in red, outlined in black, at the top of the shield. The Phantom figure itself stands strongly, with two pistols raised protectively. He exudes a calm strength, the strength and determination of a warrior to win; it projects a feeling of invincibility. This is how the Phantom was viewed by Wahgi warriors, as the ‘Man Who Cannot Die”. This is in fact written at the base of the shield in pidgin, “MAN INO SAVE LODAI’’ which literally means “ man who does not know how to die” or simply, Man Who Cannot Die.
Comics featuring the Phantom became available in the New Guinea Highlands from the late 1970s onwards, and also featured as comic strips in the one national newspaper, The Post Courier. The Phantom character equated with much of the traditional cosmology of Wahgi culture. For example, he lived in the Skull cave, high in the moutains; this is where ancestors were buried and their spirits eventually gravitated to. The Phantom became iconic emblem of victory and invincibility to the degree that the first generation of Wahgi Warriors who were literate, began to paint the Phantom (and other “new” motifs) on war shields.


163 x 61 cm

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