Persian Spinning

This blog post is mostly intended for my own memory, having a Persian persona, I would like to spin my yarn on drop spindles the way that my persona would have done. However when I spin my "Persian" yarn I'm out at events and away from my resources. So I'm posting this here to pull together a few different bits of information that I can easily look back at before going to events.

Twist direction (Z spun woolen singles turn spindle to the right!)
According to the doucmentation on a 3rd Century Taquete pillow, early Sasanid spinners spun wool in with Z twist. Three  patterned woven textiles were found in Gayet’s Antinoe excavations. These textiles were pillows placed under the heads of Romans in the cemetery (Becker). The 3 pillows found by Albert Gayet in Egyptian cemetery in Antinoe have been dated to the first half of the 3rd Century (Becker,  Hoskins, Pritchard). A further 16 textiles were found as part of the EEF excavations from 1913-1914 (Prichard). The pillows were dated by their unusual burial method. However the pillows are designated as foreign imports. This determination was made, because the pillows are woven in Z-spun woollen singles. Researchers agree that Egyptian weavers were using only S-spun yarn at this time. Becker, therefore attributed the pillows to Western Asian, likely Persian weavers. It is possible that between the 3rd C and the 6th Century the standard twist direction changed, this is the best evidence I have for twist direction in Persian wools at this time.


Lady Siobhan nic Dhuinnshleibhe shares an interesting article on the history of spinning on The Known Whorl Spinners of Atlantia website. Again she does not give information specific to 7th Century Persian spinners, however she states research shows Turkish Spindles were prevelent across the Middle East. She discusses evidence for hooked top whorl spindles in Egypt as early as the 20th C BCE. She also notes that there is evidence for spinning wheels in Persia in the 13th C, too late for me, but tempting information to persue. She cites 2 books that look worth persuing and reading:

Baines, Patricia.  Spinning Wheels, Spinners and Spinning.  McMinnville: Robin & Russ Handweavers.

Hochberg, Bette.  Handspindles.  Santa Cruz: Bette & Bernard Hochberg.  6th printing. 1993.

Works Cited
Becker, John. (1987). Pattern and Loom. Rhodos International Publishers, Copenhagen.
Hoskins, N.A. (1992). Weft-Faced Pattern Weaves: Tabby to Taquete. University of Washington Press.
Pritchard, F. (2015) Soft-furnishing textiles from the Egypt Exploration Fund season at Antinoupolis, 1913–14. British Museum. London.