This implement is referred to as either a duster or a flywhisk. Usually associated with a compassionate Buddhist following that would rather shoo away than kill bothersome insects, these devices were also considered symbols of leadership and authority among the scholar/official elite. It would not be unusual then to see one among the accouterment on a scholar’s desk.
Aside from their utility and symbolism, rootwood whisks or dusters were objects of aesthetic interest. The wood of the handle, sometimes completely natural, sometimes enhanced, was in that category of found objects, of nature’s art so beguiling and enchanting to the scholar. The knotting of cord to secure the hairs to the handle was an art in itself. Here a tightly knotted cap secures a number of double cords wrapped down their lengths, each cord securing a clump of hair and each pair forming a larger clump.