Norman shield

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Soldier on horseback with a Norman shield

The Norman shield was used by the Normans from the 11th to 15th centuries. It is a large shield, often referred to as a kite shield because of its shape.

The design is good for vertical cover and (if strapped to the arm correctly) can quite easily be manoevered to meet leg attacks. It is, however, quite a heavy design, and needs a good strong arm.

It should be noted that the gent in the picture has the shield slung at his shoulder, rather than gripped for combat.
It is not known now the extant to which shields of this type and period actually were decorated (although other contemporary sources appear to indicate that they were), nor whether any decoration was a proto-example of personal heraldry, an indication of allegiance amongst different bands fighting together, or the artistic choice of the crafters who made the shields.