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Button or Spindle Whorl

Object Name:
Button or spindle whorl
Date:
3rd–7th century
Geography:
Egypt
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Bone; incised and inlaid with paint
Dimensions:
H. 5/16 in. (0.8 cm) Diam. 1 1/8 in. (2.8 cm)
Classification:
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910
Accession Number:
10.130.2527
Not on view
The dot-in-circle motif recalls designs presumed to be of magical significance, most likely an abstract eye to ward off the evil-eye, which serves an apotropaic function. Easily reproduced with a tool and visible in many cultures and times, this symbol may have lost its meaning, and become simply a decorative pattern, or may have one that we have not yet discovered
Chauncey Murch, Luxor, Egypt (until d. 1907); Mrs. Chauncey Murch(1907–10); Helen Miller Gould, New York (1910; gifted to MMA)
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