Two Shields From Rwanda

Dear Patrons and Friends,

We have rectified the list of chapters that funded the two Rwanda shields restoration project, please find it below and join us for this week’s e-parcel.

We are going to take you inside the very heart of what we as Patrons are committed to do: our restoration laboratories. We are going to show you the first and the last phases of the restoration process featuring two projects one at its first preliminary stage and the other at its final one.

Follow us into our laboratories!

Ethnological Materials Conservation Laboratory

Dated from XIX-XX century these two shields from Rwanda are made of wooden sticks that support a rigid fabric of woven plant fibers composing the main structure. The shields were both in poor conservation condition. The wooden perimeter structure was very weak and so were the sticks. The vegetable fibers were also deformed, brittle, abraded, sometimes broken, and dehydrated. In these pictures we can witness the preliminary scientific investigations carried out by a team of restorers and Fr Nicola Mapelli, Director of the Ethnological Museum Anima Mundi.

Two Shields from Rwanda
In the picture Catherine Rivière, Barbara Cavallucci, Martina Brunori, Stefania Passerini, Léonie Uwanyrigira and Head Restorer Stefania Pandozy with Fr Nicola Mapelli. This first shield is decorated with red and black geometric patterns, symbolic of the entrance door to the chieftain’s house.
Second Decorated Shield Rwanda APAVM
On the right - Léonie Uwanyirigira rwandese art historian here explains how the vegetables fibers were put together and dried before being assembled into a shield. On the left: This second shield is decorated with red geometric patterns, symbolic of the gateway to the chieftain’s house.

The restoration of these shields has been funded by numerous chapters from all over the world: Asia, Canada, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota and North Dakota, Monaco, New York and Ohio. We thank them all for their support.

After the preliminary scientific investigations will be completed together with the creation of temporary support, the first step of the restoration will consist of creating a protective structure around the artwork. The restorers will secure the unstable fibers and wooden elements with temporary bindings on the most damaged areas. A dry cleaning and chemical cleaning will follow. A portion of the restoration costs will also fund part of the new display cases.

Metal and ceramic Laboratory


The twelve bronze artifacts belong to the category of instrumentum domesticum, the vast and varied set of materials that illustrate everyday life in the ancient world. Ten of the pieces are in the collection of the Profane Museum, and two are in the Christian Museum. Most of these objects are, in fact, from the height of the Roman period. Belonging to the Christian Museum, there is an oil lamp in the shape of a peacock, an animal closely connected to the symbol of the light. The eleven sconces and the oil lamp were in a good preservation state, although the surfaces appeared to have not undergone restoration. They required a cleaning intervention because of incrustations and light corrosions. Restorers have also provided a final consolidation to protect the works.

from his Far East travels and it is of probable Egyptian manufacture. Recent studies suggest it is from VI-VII century A.D.