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Along with the parasol, the flywhisk has long been a symbol of royal authority in India. Attendants would have used glittering examples like these—made with peacock feathers and known to the British as morchals—to fan an Indian prince at court ceremonies. Though they were made in Rajasthan, these opulent gilded-silver whisks could easily have been used at a Central Indian court like Surguja to fan a prince seated in a howdah like the one in the center of this gallery. Between the 18th and 20th centuries, the courts of India’s many princely states were increasingly interconnected—through marriage alliances, commercial and political ties, and a shared visual culture of grandeur.
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC
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