Chaur Sahib (Fly Wisk)
Origin: North India (Maybe Punjab region)
Date: 19th century
Length: Horn 62cm / total length 108cm
Materials: Ibex Horn, Silver and Yak or horse Hair
An extremely rare 19th century Chaur Sahib (fly wisk) crafted from an Ibex Horn.
The Chaur Sahib or Fly Wisk is a ceremonial Wisk that Sikhs use to waive over the Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a sign of respect. In Indian culture, the chaur was waived over the head of Royals or important Rulers to show their status. There are many depictions of Mughal paintings, Indian and Sikh Art that show people of importance with attendants waiving a flywisk over them. The V&A states “
Ceremonial fly whisks are emblems of royalty across the Indian subcontinent, regardless of the religious allegiance of the ruler, and are also used to indicate divinity. Thus, early Hindu and Jain sculptures often include attendants holding fly whisks next to the deity. Chauri - a plume of yak tail hair in an elaborate holder - are the most frequently used and depicted emblems of royalty.”
Our example is of typical shape, the handle made of a full ibex horn, which is ribbed, with a drastic curve. Due to the size of the Ibex Horn, it is indicative that it from a Male. At the top of the horn there an engraved silver mount decorated with rosettes interspersed with lush palmette leaves and further vegetal decorative bands. The design work is reminiscent of North Indian work, especially given the precise details of the decoration, it could be the punjab region. The top is delicately woven with dark cotton thread lattice yielding to a large plume of cream coloured horse or yak hair
A comparable example is kept in the British Museum - Museum number As1921,0616.58 and was donated to the Museum by Miss Herst.
An Indian silver mounted horn and horsehair fly whisk is within the collection of the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur.
A Fine and very rare item of its kind. The ibex horn provides this with strenght and size - showing its true stature. The delicatly engraved silver capping indicates the Chaur Sahib was of use for something or somone important.