Tribal Weapons

This article is to help you identify what your unknown tribal weapons are and where they are from. Due to the vast amount of tribal weapons this article does not include weapons made of steel and focuses on non-iron primitive weapons.

Some tribal weapons are common and worth very little but others are rare and can be very collectable. They range in value from less than $100 to $100,000 so working out what your tribal weapon is worth is worth the time and effort.

I specialize in tribal weapons from the Pacific and Australia but I have a network of people who know about weapons from other areas. If you have an unknown tribal weapon not made of steel please feel free to send me an image and I will let you know what it is and what it is worth. If I don’t recognize where your tribal weapon is from I will likely be able to point you in the right direction to continue your search.

General information about Tribal weapons

Different cultures around the world developed specialized weapons. Weapon design depended on the environment, technologies and war fare style. Weapons were often decorated to harness super-natural or ancestral powers. Sometime the decorative nature on shields was for psychological war fare and made to intimidate the enemy.

Many tribal weapons end up far from where they originated, in anywhere from Scottish castles to suburban rummage sales. Weapons are collectable in their own right but many are quite beautiful and are also art objects in their own right.


Left: Nias Warriors Indonesia with shields

Aboriginal broad shield

Tribal Weapons Shields

War shields are for defense against spears, arrows and clubs in many cultures. They are often covered with clan motifs to empower the shield with protective spirits. They range vastly in size from small parrying shields to huge shields for defense against arrows. I mainly deal in shields made from wood and rattan. Many forms of hide shield exist and most are African in origin.



Left: Aboriginal Broad Shield Eastern Australia

sepik shield from wogamush

Sepik Shield Papua new Guinea

Sulka old carved shield

Ganda Shield Uganda

Australian Aboriginal Shields
I have a separate article that extensively covers Aboriginal Shields. Australian shields come in many different forms depending on the tribe that made them and their function. Aboriginal shields come in two main types, Broad shields, and Parrying shields. Parrying shields parry blows from a club whereas broad shields block spears. Shields for parrying are thick strong and narrow whereas broad shields are wide but thin.
The value of an aboriginal shield depends on the quality of the shield, the age, artistic beauty, and rarity. As a rule of thumb, the shields from the areas of earliest contact such as New South Wales tend to be the less common. Rare shields from Eastern Australia are more collectible than those from Western Australia. Most good shields end up in the hands of lovers of tribal art and not  Aboriginal weapons collectors.
Above: Queensland Rainforest shield
Right: La Grange Shield Western Australia