Fly whisk with Janus-faced standing lion
- Baule peoples
- c. 1920
For the Baule peoples, fly whisks have functions beyond swatting away insects—they can be part of the Baule royal regalia. The value placed on this object is apparent from its gilded wooden handle. Red cloth and string are wrapped around the whisk's handle. The fabric's dye has transferred to the horsehair tail over time. A Janus-faced (or two-headed) feline caps the handle while human faces circle its base. Although the double-headed feline could symbolize an ability to confront many things at once, its precise meaning is not known. Fly whisks themselves represented financial wisdom. A Baule proverb compares these instruments to money and warns that, like a whisk in motion, riches are fleeting.
- Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2018.
View a 1972 photograph of a Baule woman holding gilded wood fly whisks of dignitary N'Goran Koffi in Kouassiblekro, Ivory Coast.
View an image of fly whisks from Yogolikro village, Côte d'Ivoire .
See a photograph of Baule sculptor Konan Yao with fly whisks.