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This spindle whorl is of carved wood. It is notable for its exceptional patina: it is glowing and lustrous, and the wood has developed a varying, rich red hue as a consequence.
The top and sides have been engraved with geometric motifs.
It is from the Berber people of the Anti-Atlas mountains in Morocco.
Spindle whorls always have a disc or spherical form and were fitted onto the spindle to increase and maintain the speed of the spin. And a spindle is a straight spike usually of wood that was used for spinning and twisting wool fibres into yarn.
This was essential for the Berbers. They had large flocks of goats and used their wool to spin yarn that was then used to make blankets, tent coverings, clothing and so on.
The example here is a wonderful example of a bygone era. It is highly decorative, with a wonderful feel in the hand. It could be used simply as a decorative item, or even as a pendant.
Splendeurs du Maroc, Musee Royal de l’Afrique Central, Belgium, 1998.