Button or Spindle Whorl, Bone; incised

Button or Spindle Whorl

Object Name:
Button or spindle whorl
9th–10th century
Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Bone; incised
H. 1/4 in. (0.7 cm)
Diam. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1938
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.
1937, excavated at Sabz Pushan in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1938, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds