Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Button or Spindle Whorl

Object Name:
Button or spindle whorl
3rd–10th century
Attributed to Egypt
Bone; incised and inlaid with paint
H. 7/8 in. (2.2 cm)
Diam. 1 5/16 in. (3.3 cm)
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910
Accession Number:
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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