late 1800s-early 1900s
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Rarely do flywhisks depict a female figure.


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.


late 1800s-early 1900s

Africa, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo (most likely), Cabinda, or Republic of the Congo, probably Yombe-style maker

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