X67.2052 Fly whisk

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Not Currently On View in Intersections 


Fly whisk
Bamum peoples
19th century
Raffia cloth, glass beads, horsehair, iron, nails, raffia thread
H: 121.0 cm, W: 10.0 cm, D: 12.0 cm (H: 47.6 in, W: 3.9 in, D: 4.7 in)
Gift of George G. Frelinghuysen. X67.2052


Fly whisks are common prestige emblems for chiefs and kings in Africa. The beaded representation of a ram with curled horns is a metaphor for the king’s strength, tenacity, and endurance. The whisk itself is made from the tail of a horse, an animal also associated with nobility and elevated status in the Grassfields kingdoms.

Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006