Spindle whorls were a useful accessory used in combination with the spindle; coarse wool or other fibres would have been twisted around the spindle then spun and left to drop pulling the fibres and creating yarn. The whorl would have been attached to the spindle aiding the handler to control the speed of the process. The weight of a whorl would determine the force applied while the diameter dictated the amount of twists performed during one spin. This technique for spinning dated from the Iron Age to the early post-medieval periods. Across civilisations and ages, spindle whorls have been created out of many different materials: amber, antler, ceramic, coral, bone, several different metals, wood and glass.
Selection of Near Eastern Spindle Whorls
A selection of Near Eastern spindle whorls, carved from alabaster. Though of different sizes, all feature a domed shape with a central grooved division. Each whorl has been perforated vertically at the centre.
Condition: Fine condition, some wear due to age.