Fly whisks as museum curiosities can be VERY curious indeed.
I was on the hunt for a fly whisk for trail riding, and found that trade in historical fly whisks is alive and well:
You can find a fancy dyed Abyssinian fly whisk:
A fly whisk with a woman on the end of it (quite pretty, actually):
Or a fly whisk from “the tribe where Barrack (sic) Obama’s ancestors came from” (uh, ok…):
Or if you can bid on a nonfunctional, poodle-esque Indian fly whisk. Starts at just $300!
Those weren’t quite in my price range though. So I searched some more…and that’s when I found this gem for a steal at $15:
“This is from an estate sale of a foreign dignitary who was given presents from countries he visited. I had no idea what this was at first but with a little research… voila! A fly whisk. This was used to disturb or swat flies while outside in infested areas. You may remember seeing footage of guys on elephants or camels whipping a small flail-like object back and forth. This is it.
When this was new, it was well made. Age has taken its toll on its condition. The black horse or Yak hair used to make this is beginning to become brittle and fall out. It is only a decoration now. So those of you hoping to use this instead of bathe, you’re out of luck.
The handle is a combination of woven and tightly stitched leather. This is attached to a wooden rod that has been clear lacquered. At the top, the hair is woven into a sisal twine that is wrapped around the rod. The hair is very coarse, so I’m not sure exactly what type of hair it is which would help with finding out it’s origin. Many of the items at the sale were from Africa, so that’s what I’m thinking.
These were also very symbolic in certain societies. They are typically in the traditional regales of nobility in Africa notably the Maasai society. In Buddhism, it represents the symbolic “sweeping” of ignorance and mental afflictions. Maybe I’ll take it with me next time on the expressway. It is also symbolic in Thailand and Polynesia as a mark of authority.
One of these was a pretext to war between France and Algeria back in 1827. How cool is that? It measures about 34″ long fully extended and the handle is 16 1/2″ long.
Anyway, condition is the main problem with this as described and it needs delicate treatment. In other words, no ooga booga witch doctor dances with it. It needs to be treated like the nobility it represents.“
As usual, Etsy can’t be topped when it comes to weird equestrian gear.
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