Sudanese shield made of elephant hide. Originating from the Bedja tribe of South Eastern Sudan, this heavy ovoid shield is of typical form for the period, with a flattened front, large conical boss on the centre to protect the hand, and two small circular cutouts on opposite sides of the rim. This particular example is clearly made from thick elephant hide with the characteristic granular surface in ripples, smoothed from the animals life. During the latter part of the 19th century, there are several examples of these shields being used in conjunction within the Mahdist movement of Sudan against Egypt, and the British, with a few museums examples as battlefield pick ups notably after the battle of Omdurman in 1898 which ostensibly signalled the end of the Mahdist movement. This shield has a small silver attached tag on the front engraved ‘Egypt 1888’, the date of the main Mahdist invasion into Egypt which was ultimately defeated by the British, mainly at the Battle of Suakin, and is presumably a relic taken at the time by a British solder. Good condition throughout. 64 x 57 cms approximately.