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Kunwar Singh’s Silver Fly Whisk

August 31, 1857
Mirza Firuz Shah
Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857

Kunwar Singh’s Silver Fly Whisk



One of the aims of the project is to begin to untangle the many ways in which objects come into museum collections. Here we investigate the provenance of a fly whisk associated with the Indian Uprising of 1857-8. Recently, Friederike Voigt (Senior Curator, Middle East and South Asia) and I had the opportunity to examine objects in the collections of the Department of World Cultures at National Museums Scotland that are relevant to the Military Collections and Empire project. Provenance research is uncovering that the department has a number of objects associated with individuals that came from a military background, and it will be interesting to see if we can begin to determine why it was that objects came into these collections, and not the military collections held at the War Museum in Edinburgh Castle. 

One of the captivating objects we saw is a finely beaten and chased silver fly whisk mounted with fine golden hair (possibly yak) and associated with the Indian Uprising of 1857-8. An engraved silver plaque affixed to the object declares. The hallmarks beneath the inscription indicate that that plaque was added in 1901, and that the silversmith is most likely to have been Frederick Bradford McCrea – Army & Navy Co-operative Society Ltd. The head and collar of the fly whisk is decorated with a series of stylised petals. The long grip tapers inwards terminating in a rounded finial.


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Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


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