Advanced Search
Back to Collection
View Larger

Artist Name:

Kongo Artist, Vili Region

Nationality & Life Dates:

Democratic Republic of the Congo or Republic of the Congo


Fly Whisk


19th century


Wood, hair, and raffia


13¾ x 2 x 2 inches

Credit Line:

Fred and Rita Richman Collection

Accession Number:


On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
This fly whisk was used as an emblem of political office. Its smooth, worn surfaces show signs of extensive use. Delicate metalwork ornaments the figure’s face, repeating the same sign at the center of her forehead and at both temples. These four points mark the Dikenga, the Kongo cosmogram that charts the never-ending cycle of life. Moving counterclockwise, the point at three o’clock indicates birth, twelve o’clock indicates prime of life, nine o’clock indicates the role of the elders, and six o’clock refers to the realm of the ancestors.

Reproduction of digital images, including downloading, is governed by copyright laws and international conventions. Please contact the Images and Rights Coordinator for information concerning permissions or to request digital photography of works in the High's collection.

Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.