Fly Whisk (Tahiri), Austral Islands

Fly Whisk (Tahiri), Austral Islands, early to mid-19th century, wood, fiber, and human hair, 13 x 81.3 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979.206.1487). Speakers: Dr. Maia Nuku, Evelyn A. J. Hall and John A. Friede Associate Curator for Oceanic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Dr. Steven Zucker

Ignore the Western name—spinning this object opened a channel of communication between ancestral and human realms.

Additional resources:

This work at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Oceania on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Smarthistory images for teaching and learning:

[flickr_tags user_id=”82032880@N00″ tags=”Tahiri,”]

More Smarthistory images…

Cite this page as: Dr. Maia Nuku and Dr. Steven Zucker, "Fly Whisk (Tahiri), Austral Islands," in Smarthistory, January 16, 2017, accessed December 11, 2023,