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South America 


Bolivia, Aymara spindle

Aymara hand-crafted spindle, bone awl and ball of handspun yarn. Native Name (Northern Aymara): Khapu or q'anti = spindle; wich’uña = weaving awl; muruqu = spun yarn. Department of La Paz, late-20th  century. Materials: Andean woods, handspun sheep wool and llama metatarsal. Length of the spindle: 15,8"; whorl diameter: 1,92"; length of the bone awl:  8,7".

These are two important Andean textile tools: a bone awl for tightening weft yarns while weaving and a wooden drop spindle for hand-spinning yarn. The spindle whorl is a type often used in the Department of Chuquisaca. The ball of yarn is wrapped in traditional Andean form. The old bone awl is fashioned from the back leg metatarsal of a male llama. To strengthen these weaving awls, the bones are often soaked in urine or cured with smoke in the chimneys of kitchens.

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