HomeAbout usImpressumOur BooksTatanka GalleryLinksContactOrder Form

Riku Hämäläinen

Bear Power Motifs

On Plains Indain Shield

The shield was the most spectacular defensive weapon of the North American Indians. At least as important as its material structure was its spiritual meaning. Usually, a shield was ritually decorated and consecrated in elaborate ceremonies. Shield designs based very often on dreams and visions as well as on intensive consultations with and guidance by people who had close relations to supernatural powers. The design’s effectiveness depended on restrictions, taboos, prayers, and other rules. Many shields had a cover which concealed the most powerful design on the shield underneath. This painting was not unveiled before the warrior went into battle.

The ritual shield design represents a comprehensive and complicated ethnographic complex. In this volume, the internationally known scholar, Riku Hämäläinen from the Department of Comparative Religion of the University of Helsinki, Finnland, documents in an exemplary manner one of the strongest symbols of shield designs, the Bear Power Motifs among North American Plains peoples.

This book is an outstanding scholarly study, being the first of its kind.

Book Site

Shield Book Site 

Cover Bear Shield

 Large size, 64 pp. 42 colored figs. Hard bound.

ISBN 978-3-89510-122-9

30.00 US-$