Flywhisk

Wood-carved flywhisk is shape of a woman. Her torso doubles as the whisk handle and is scarified with leaden inlay, which has been worn smooth due to extended use. A red cotton wrap marks the transition zone between the female’s torso and the buffalo hair whisk below. The whisk visually acts as a grass skirt completing the above figure’s body and dress.
Artist Unknown, African, Dondo Peoples Congo Republic
c. 1800
Whisks are the prerogative of rulers, divination experts or judges. This one seems to be of special importance given its intricate surface design. The figure raises her arm to her head making a gesture that indicates that she is also in the process of whisking up and down.
Gift of Candis and Helmut Stern
2005/1.176
Wednesday, August 5, 2020