A Bronze Kinnara Loom Pulley
height: 15 cm
This loom pulley, with a pair of grooved wheels enclosing rattles, is surmounted by a kinnara (half man, half bird). It is an unusually fine example. Such pulleys were suspended from the heddles of the loom, which allowed half the warp threads to be raised alternatively to permit the fabric to be woven.
Burmese weavers traditionally wove on a large loom called a
yakun. It was a rectangular, wooden frame loom around 2 metres long and 1.25 metres wide with a seat for the weaver (Fraser-Lu, 1994:257.) Some loom pulleys such as the one here were exquisite in form and showed mastery of casting to elevate them as minor arts in their own right, comments Fraser-Lu.
A similar but lesser loom pulley is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, inventory no. IM75-1922.
See Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994, colour plate 52 for a similar but lesser example, and another on page 257. The British Museum example is illustrated in Lowry, J., Burmese Art, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1974, plate 50.
Inventory no.: 308