Collections through Cake: Cypriot Spindle Whorls

Writes Classicist and volunteer Anna Reeve:
Inspired by Leeds Museums’ brilliant ‘Collections through Cake’ series, I wanted to have a go myself! It had to be an object from the Ancient Cypriot collection, which I am researching. I was very tempted by an ‘Astarte Tatin’, but decided to play it safe and make ancient Cypriot gingerbread spindle whorls.
The four Cypriot spindle whorls in the Leeds Museum collection come from Enkomi in Cyprus, and were donated by the British Museum in 1902.
Spindle whorls were used with spindles to turn fibres into thread, which could then be woven into cloth. It was a labour-intensive task that would have been very time-consuming.
This example, a flattened cone in shape, is made of bone and decorated with concentric circles and hatching. The design may possibly reflect the stitches used in sewing. It dates from some time in the Late Cypriot period (1650 BC – 1050 BC).
The gingerbread is considerably more recent in manufacture, and very unlikely to last anywhere near as long!
Read more of Anna’s research at Cypriot Art Leeds

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