Spindle whorl - ROM2017_15946_1


Spindle whorl

Medium:Limestone with modern wood handle and flax
Geography: Excavated at Abydos, Egypt
Date: c. 3100-2890 BC
Period: 1st Dynasty, Early Dynastic Period
3 x 4.2 cm
Object number: 905.2.85
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Spinning and weaving were major tasks for Egyptian women from Neolithic times onward. Flax fibres would be formed into roves that would then have to be spun to form linen threads. Egyptian spindles were spun with the whorl on the top. Commonly the spindle was allowed to drop and the weight of the whorl was used to maintain the spin. The grey limestone truncated cone with the perforation through the centre in this example is original. The wooden stick tapering at the bottom and the linen threads are modern elements that have been added to show how the spindle whorl was used. Most Egyptian thread was spun anti-clockwise (s-spun). Two or more threads were often twisted together to make a plied yarn. Once threads were made, they could be used for weaving or sewing.

Object History: Excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society, 1902-1904
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