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Flywhisk

Flywhisk

late 1800s-early 1900s

Wood, animal hair

Overall: 30 x 16 x 18 cm (11 13/16 x 6 5/16 x 7 1/16 in.)

René and Odette Delenne Collection, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.435

Fun Fact

Rarely do flywhisks depict a female figure.

Description

In Central Africa, flywhisks denoted status, rank, and function, rather than used to whisk away flies. Commonly associated with chiefs and titleholders, they were also owned by diviners and healers. Their purpose may also have been used to purify spaces, bless people, places, or things, and settle disputes. Flywhisks rarely depict women; yet this finely carved miniature of a woman kneeling signifies obedience and respect.

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