Zulu Tribe Shield Projects

Written by alex jakubik
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Zulu Tribe Shield Projects
Zulu shield projects can be interesing and informative. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Zulu tribe shields of the Zulu peoples of southern Africa have a variety of traditional functions and designs. They are also commercially available and sought after as collectors' items or for decoration. Projects for Zulu tribe shields are most effective when they inform people of the role, meaning or history of the shields. Different sizes and designs have different meanings. With some research and work, you can make a Zulu shield project to meet your specific goals.

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Uses of Zulu Shields

The most direct use of shields were for defensive purposes in battle. Shields of leaders tended to be larger and more elaborate while hand held shields allow for easier hand-to-hand combat. Shields appear in traditional ceremonies and dances, often as symbolic representations or to show roles of characters. Less ornate shields were used as defence against animals while hunting. Projects might include a self-made model of a shield or a visual representation such as a drawing or poster that highlights or explains these differences.

Meanings of Zulu Shields

Meanings of Zulu shields are directly related to their intended use. Most shields have visual elements that convey these uses. Dancers and people re-enacting battle scenes frequently use the shields. Larger shields for battle have a shaft upon which the shield can rest, making it easier to carry and use in battle. They also include visually and physically aggressive elements such as an attached club or spear. Shield colours would also indicate ranking of combatants. Leaders' shields would be white while regular soldiers' shields would use both black and white. Courting shields tended to have a red colour. A Zulu shield project could visually highlight any of these differences with the goal of informing people of their significance.

Regional Differences of Zulu Tribe Shields

The Zulu people are located in southern Africa. The majority are in the country South Africa with smaller populations in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. Possible projects for Zulu tribe shields might include a map designating their country of origin, or several visual depictions highlighting regional differences in shield design.

History of Zulu Tribe Shields

Zulu tribe shield projects can take a historical perspective as well. A written paper or visual representation could explain how the shields developed over time. Progression of building techniques and materials of shields are also a potential topic. Shield designs are often compared to western-style coat-of-arms. A project might focus on one particular Zulu chieftain and his historical significance, using the design of his shield and that of his enemy as a point of departure.

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