Part of the standard equipment for an Aceh warrior was the shield. Two basic types existed the Peurise Awe and the Peurise Teumaga.
The Peurise Awe was a round shield made of rattan and decorated with brass stars. The number of stars on the rattan shield are most often either 5 or 7.
J. Klein Nagelvoort, Researcher and Author of the book “Toean Stammeshaus” gives some insight with his research on Aceh weapons. According to Stammeshaus the 7 stars are meant for military leaders or in the Aceh language Panglima’s.
In place of the stars it could also be adorned with round pieces of brass with a starlike form within the circle and only a regular star in the middle.
Many small variations existed like pointed stars for example.
For use in war the shields were often covered inside and outside with either dark cloth or red cloth. Many nails were then added to keep the cloth in place.
Shield covered in dark cloth and with many “nails” as discussed above.
The Peurise Teumaga is a brass shield also adorned with either stars or more often round pieces of brass. These shields are very plain and simple but effective. They generally have a rim that is pointed outwards.
Again J. Klein Nagelvoort, Researcher and Author of the book “Toean Stammeshaus” mentions that according to Stammeshaus and his research the brass shields were only used by the direct followers of the Sultan of Aceh. These are always small in size, around 30cm.
This would mean they are relatively old, so from the 19th century, practically from before 1874 where the rattan versions were still in use in the early 20th century.
An excerpt from the writings of Stammeshaus describing the two shields from the picture above.
The often seen cast brass shields or other types with many decorations are not Aceh shields. These come from the more Southern parts of Sumatra (Minang Kabau) and are not meant for war at all, they can be considered tourist pieces from the first half of the 20th century! And although wooden shields did exist most examples seen today are tourist pieces and totally unfit for actual use in combat.
There are many more variations and also sizes can be very different. Kreemer writes that shields in the Gajo area are generally larger e.g. ( J. Kreemer, Atjéh, 1922).