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A bleg.

It’s been a while since my last bleg, I think – and maybe you are eager for another picture hunt? As I mentioned a few days before with the links to manuscripts online, I am looking for pictures of spinning people (women or men) dated before 1300 and especially before 1100, so early medieval. There are pictures in the Utrecht Psalter and Stuttgart Psalter that are sometimes said to show spinning women, but… the Stuttgart lady has her spindle in her lap, and the Utrecht drawing is not clear enough to me to really serve as a source for possible techniques.

There are plenty of pictures from the high and late Middle Ages, especially about the themes “Adam digging, Eve spinning”, “Woman beating up her man” and the Annunciation. From early medieval context, however, I have not been able to find a single picture yet that clearly shows spinning procedure and technique.

One possible reason is that there are, overall, less pictures and illuminations from the Early MA, and there seem to be even less pictures of women from that time. But maybe I just haven’t found it, and you happen to know it because a reprint of it graces your living space? I’d be delighted to get any hints about a spinning picture from before 1100!

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6 Responses to A bleg.

  1. How about this picture from the Hunterian Psalter (supposedly dated about 1170)? I found this one in Wikipedia, but the image may be useful for your collection.

  2. Here's a link to the entire image in which the Hunterian Psalter shows Eve.

  3. Must it be as late as the Middle Ages at all? Here is one from a Greek pottery piece:

    The caption (yes, I found it on Wikipedia; that's Google image search for you) reads:

    "Woman spinning. Detail from an Ancient Greek Attic white-ground oinochoe, ca. 490 BC, from Locri, Italy. British Museum, London."

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Cathy, thanks for the links! That is one of the quite early ones that originate in (Middle) Europe, as far as I've progressed in my search.

    And yes, they have to be medieval, and preferably from Europe/Middle Europe. There's no problem at all in finding Greek spinners doing their thing – but the technique shown is different from the high/late medieval pictures.

  6. Noted. I will not look for classical period spinners, and see whether I can dig up any more early medieval ones.

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