A woman in Bondakile spins cotton thread from raw fiber held in her left hand. She holds the raw cotton between her thumb and index finger, using her middle finger to provide tension as she stretches and thins the fibers using her right hand. The thread is wound thickly toward the base of the spindle (gԑndԑ in Nafaanra) above the spindle whorl (gԑndԑ kan in Nafaanra) which is barely visible at the base of the spindle. The woman uses (what appears to be) a turtle shell (carapace) as a surface on which to spin. She has stabilized the shell with a piece of folded cloth which sits on top of an enamel ware plate. A calabash and a plastic bucket site nearby. Spinning was a routine household activity done by women until commercially manufactured cloth became commonplace (second half of the 20th century). Two photos. Bondakile, 1994.
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Plastic containers; Women's work ; Cotton thread; Techniques
A woman in Dumboli spins cotton thread. She holds raw cotton fiber in her left hand. She has attached a strand of fiber to her spindle (gԑndԑ in Nafaanra), and she prepares to set it and the spindle whorl (gԑndԑ kaan in Nafaanra) which weights it in motion with her right hand. The whorl spins inside a small white vessel (possibly an animal skull or turtle shell) resting on a basket lid. The woman sits on a low stool. Various containers used in food preparation sit behind her. The basket on which she is spinning is used to store her equipment when not in use. Seeing women spinning in their homes would have been common before the second half of the 20th century. Archaeologists find spindle whorls in houses on sites dating to the later 18th and 19th centuries. In earlier times, however, it appears that thread was primarily made in market centers rather than in households. Two photos. Dumboli, 1994.