Spindle Whorl

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453

Spindle whorls aided in the making of thread by maintaining the momentum of the spindle. This blue-toned, conical spindle whorl was excavated during the Metropolitan Museum’s excavation at Nishapur, in eastern Iran. Incised lines form crosshatched shapes. This motif is repeated twice around the body with a vertically oriented design marking the space between sets. Two lines of triangles and diamonds are incised on the bottom (reverse) of the spindle whorl. Hundreds of spindle whorls were excavated at Nishapur, providing further evidence that the city possessed a thriving textile industry. Their incised designs exhibit a wide variety of motifs ranging from geometric forms to zoomorphic figures.

Spindle Whorl, Bone; tinted, incised, and inlaid with paint

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