My Cart


Modern Nomad Home

Clay Spindle Whorl Beads Mali Africa Big 30 Inch

These are old terracotta spindles whorls from the Djoboro and Timbuktu regions of the inland Niger Delta in Mali, Africa.

Spindle whorls were used for balancing the spindle as yarn was being spun. They were placed over the spindle and were loose enough to spin as the spindle was twirled back and worth. Spindles were made of both wood and metal.

These spinning aids have been used throughout the world for centuries and come from all cultures. Spindles whorls were carved from stone, shaped from bone, made from clay and some ancient Sassanian whorls were made from hippo and elephant ivory. The smaller and more delicate whorls were made for spinning silk.

Large clay spindle whorls like these have been found in the Niger Delta at settlements dating to the 11th and 12th centuries. It is speculated that spinning and spindle whorls started in this region because of the North African or Islamic influence on the delta culture during this same period.

However; these are beautiful handmade objects and look lovely worked into both bold and delicate necklaces.


Sign up for our newsletter and receive 10% off your first order