Detail View: The AMICA Library: Heddle Pulley Holder

AMICA Library Year: 
Object Type: 
Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
A wood heddle pulley for a man's narrow-weave loom surmounted by an elephant head; wide open rectangular base with flat-sided legs; perforation near bottom of each leg for insertion of rod with grooved pulley; top of base semi-circular with tubular neck for elephant head finial; large ovoid head tapering to long curving trunk with open flap nostrils; small lightly incised slit eyes in a circle; four deep grooves horizontally across top of head between ears; large kidney bean ears the length of the sides of the head; flat-ended knob at rear of head with vertical perforation for suspension cord (missing); glossy red-brown surface, probably never used.
Creator Name: 
Creator Name-CRT: 
Senufo, Ivory Coast
Heddle Pulley Holder
Full view
Creation Date: 
20th century
Creation Start Date: 
Creation End Date: 
Materials and Techniques: 
Creation Place: 
Ivory Coast, Africa
Height: 7 1/2"; width: 3 3/8"
AMICA Contributor: 
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Owner Location: 
Brooklyn, New York, USA
ID Number: 
Credit Line: 
Museum purchase, 1982
A heddle pulley is suspended from a tree or frame above a man's narrow weave loom. A cord passes over the pulley spool to raise and lower the heddle controlling the warp threads so that the weaving shuttle may pass between them. The man's feet depress the top heddle and the bottom heddle in turn.

The carved faces, masks, animal heads, or figures on the top of the holder are decorative only. Weavers gather in a public place and the holders help to attract an audience. People stop and admire the weaving and the holders and talk to the weavers. Artists use their imagination to make interesting, beautiful, and recognizable figures and hope to gain new commissions from the viewers. Most of the carved tops have elongated necks, beaks or other features to prevent the suspension cord from slipping off. Others have hooks or perforations. Pulley holders are made by the Baule, Senufo, Guro, Dogon, and Bamana.
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