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What is it?

A fly-whisk is an accoutrement used to whisk or “swoosh” flying insects away from you, by creating an air current to disturb them. It is not intended to be used as a fly swat but could perform this function if required. It’s creative origins are easy to identify - just by looking at animals in nature: horses, cattle etc. have long tails made of hair which they swish about to get those pesky insects to go away and stop biting them.

Fly-whisks are comprised of a handle and a "whisk" (something to “frighten” the fly with). Today most fly-whisk handles are made of wood (frequently bamboo) but they can also be made of braided leather or beads. Vintage and more expensive ones can be found made with carved stone, metal (silver), ivory etc.

The whisk itself can be made of feathers, synthetic fiber or plant fibers. However, broadly speaking, the most common whisk material used is horse hair (in the West) and Yak hair (in the East). Vintage whisks may be made of more exotic hair e.g. elephant, lion, giraffe etc.

Find Out More About Fly-Whisks

UsageCultural BenefitsAn Historical IncidentSuppliers.

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