Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/96

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


of a diamond shape, having eight sides or surfaces, and four sharp angles, with which to inflict a blow. The handle of the waddy is always ornamented by a knob, and is marked by a number of notches, which serve the double purpose of ornament and use, by enabling the combatant to take a more secure hold of his weapon. A sword is also found among the weapons of the New Hollander. This instrument, which, like the others, is formed of wood, bears no affinity to that formidable weapon the barbed sword of the South Sea Islands, partaking more of the nature of a club. In shape it bears a striking resemblance to the semicircular Turkish scimitar, representations of which are to be met with in the illustrated editions of the "Arabian Nights," the point being formed by cutting off lengthwise a segment of a broad end. The shield or, as it is called in aboriginal parlance, the "eleman," is an important article in the armour of the New Hollander. It is formed of wood, sometimes of bark, and is for the most part of an oval shape. The shield varies as to size, being found from a foot in length to an extent sufficiently capacious to conceal the whole person, and, so far as construction and ornament are concerned, might have belonged to a knight-errant or crusader of the twelfth century instead of a savage of the Australian wilds. The mark which more particularly calls to mind the similarity mentioned, is a cross formed by two parallel lines drawn from top to bottom, and two more from side to side, on the face