Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: the Orientalizing phase

Five glass spindle whorls

Even in the course of the Orientalising period spindle whorls were usually made of terra cotta, albeit they underwent a structural and ornamental development.

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However, certain sophisticated whorls, such as these presented here, were fabricated with bronze, stone or even glass. The latter ones, in particular, were a rarity, generally part of the lushest grave goods, in which they were often grouped with other tools from the same spinning set – spindles and distaffs – which were also fabricated with precious materials, in order to emphasise the social class of the noblewoman who brandished them. Glass whorls are extremely fragile, therefore researchers are inclined to attribute a symbolic value to these tools and exclude that they were actually utilised in quotidian life.

Provenance: Bologna, Necropolis of the Military Arsenal; Benacci, Cortesi and Melenzani necropolises
Datation: 7th century B.C.
Material: Glass
Dimensions: h. 2 to 2.7 cm; diameter 2.7 to 3 cm.
Inventory #: 17475; 14899; 20559; 31294; 24708

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