Baule Flywhisk Handle with Three Birds and Two Faces, Ivory Coast

Wood, iron, accumulation

8.5 x 4.25 in. / 21.5 x 11 cm
Height on custom display stand: 9.75 in. / 25 cm

Early 20th century

This flywhisk was originally attached to a horsehair bundle and covered in gold leaf. The iron staples used to attach the horsehair are still attached, and the fine geometric incisions served to hold the gold leaf in place. Like most flywhisks, the gold leaf and horsehair have long-since been removed, but the surviving wood sculpture shows the artistry of the Baule sculptor. A Baule flywhisk from the Detroit Institute of Arts with similar iconography can be seen here.