Fly whisk with kneeling female figure

Baule peoples
c. 1920
more object details

General Description

Baule notables act as the leaders and representatives for groups of independent Baule villages. Each of these individuals owns several fly whisks that serve as staffs of office. Fly whisks are sometimes entrusted to selected advisors but are usually displayed during public ceremonies and festivals, where they are piled in several basins in front of the leader. On this example, the chalice-shaped wooden handle is covered in gold leaf, and a short horsetail is attached with tightly-wrapped red string. The gilded surface contains shallow carvings of geometric patterns, human faces, quarter moons, horns, and other objects. Fly whisk ornamentation often culminates with a carved human figure or animal. This fly whisk is topped by a kneeling female figure holding her arms across her chest. The meaning of her presence is unfortunately unknown.

Excerpt from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.