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Identification and Creation
Object Number
1960.615
Title
Loom Weight
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
loom weight
Date
400 BCE-400 CE
Period
Roman Imperial period
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/290972
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Terracotta
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
8.9 x 3.9 x 4.5 cm (3 1/2 x 1 9/16 x 1 3/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
1960
Object Number
1960.615
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Conic shaped loom weight, pierced near vertex and unglazed. The cone is slightly asymmetrical and lists towards one side. The surface is whitish with chips near the tip, showing the red color beneath. There are modern pencil marks on two of the sides, mainly numerals. The loom weight can stand alone on its base.
Commentary
LIVE LIKE A ROMAN: DAILY LIFE OBJECT COLLECTION

Weaving in the ancient world was the primary duty of women. It was one of the main ways in which a household could be self-sufficient. Women wove clothing, cushions and covers for wooden furniture, and wall coverings. Wool was the most common material used, followed by linen. If a family had its own sheep, they could produce their own wool. However, flax and linen had to be imported from elsewhere when there was a lack of fertile land. Silk and cotton were both rare materials and were not often used for clothing.

To prepare wool for weaving, it had to be cleaned and dyed with mineral or vegetable compounds. The wool was then spun with a distaff and spindle, preparing the yarn. Yarn was woven into other threads hanging from the top of the loom with weights at the bottom to keep them taut. This is called a warp-weighted loom and was very popular in ancient Greece, as seen on numerous red and black figure vases.

[Jessica Pesce 8/18/2010]
Subjects and Contexts

Roman Domestic Art

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu