Simbai Shield-Kalam Culture-Seymour Lazar Collection-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
Can something be archaic and sophisticated? I mean what can be more archaic than a wooden war shield carved with stone tools from a remote village high in the misty, muddy mountains on the island of New Guinea? Yet, the bold, precise geometric design on this ancient shield has a sophistication to it that belies its brutal, primeval function. This is an exceptional Simbai shield. There a number of arrow tips embedded in the surface that surely justified its existence and must have endeared the shield to its owner. It comes from the equally stylish collector Seymour Lazar—the flamboyant entertainment lawyer who in his day could hit the town sporting a Pierre Cardin leather suit and no shirt. The present shield dates to the 19th century, is 37 ¾” (95.8 cm) in height and sells for $7000.