Monday, February 8, 2016

Unconquered - Making a War Shield

Today I re-worked the war shield for Unconquered. There were four types of shields which were used on the Plains: the dance shield which was a lightweight version of the war shield; the medicine or holy man's shield, the miniature shield, which was a small copy of a warrior's war shield , and which he sometimes carried on long journeys in place of the war shield; and the war shield itself. The war shield was made in three varieties. The least-used variety, was made by stitching four or five layers of flat rawhide together, cutting these in a traditional round shape, and then decorating the front side of the hide with feathers and strips of cloth. A second variety was made by forming the hide around a wooden hoop. Many kinds of hoop shields were constructed, but these called for a thinner and weaker hide than those made by the third means, which was the heat shrinking process. Most war shields by far were fashioned this way, for the shrinking produced a thick hide and it was easier to press into a concave or convex shape which aided in deflection of weapons hitting it. Prior to the arrival of the horse, Plains war shields were quite large-often being three feet or more in diameter. These were much to cumbersome for mounted men, though, and so the size was reduced until the average war shield measured only eighteen inches in diameter.

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