Figure with Spinning Wheel

Sumba Island

Not on view

This sculpture, from the island of Sumba, is carved from a single piece of porous light grey stone with white inclusions. It depicts a seated female figure pulling a strand of thread from a square-shaped spinning wheel or yarn winder. The figure and winder are carved as one piece with a shared, roughly oval base. The shaft of the winder is carved, as is often the case in actual Sumban yarn winders, in the form of a stylized human image. The female figure holds the thread in the proper right hand of her upraised arm and the left arm, the hand of which is empty, is raised parallel to it. The heads and bodies of the female figure and figurative shaft are highly stylized, consisting of robust, rounded forms. The eyes and nose of both and the ears of the female figure are carved in low relief with the mouths indicated as incised lines. The female figure is shown with conical breasts in low relief and has a rectangular form, possible representing a garment or folded textile in her lap between her outstretched legs. Her fingers and toes are indicated with incised lines. The figurative shaft has two arms, shown attached to the body in low relief with the hands resting on the abdomen.

No image available

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.