Spindle Whorls Ancient Clay Beads Mali African
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These come from ancient Mopti-Djenne (Niger and Bani River area). Reports coming from the 1300s say that one could not speak in a normal tone due to the noise of the weavers' looms at Djenne during the time of the great King Sundjata. There are written comments dating to the early 1400s about Djenne and the great number of weavers there. Although often collected and strung as beads, these were originally spindle whorls used to help spin thread. Made of clay and stone and incised with geometrical patterns, they are recognizable by their enlarged central hole. Recent excavation in the old city of Jenne-Jeno, near the modern town of Jenne, show these whorls to have been used at least since AD 1000. (See BEADS OF THE WORLD-Peter Francis and BEADS, An EXPLORATION OF BEAD TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD, by Coles and Budwig.)