AUD $1,960.00

Gandharan, Stone Spindle Whorls.

These 102 old Stone Spindle Whorls from the Swat Valley in what was once Gandhara, dating back to around 400 AD are threaded loosely on a string.  (Gandhara you'll remember is the place/kingdom where Buddhism developed its characteristic Hellenistic sculptural style/look before it set off up through Central Asia to the Silk Route then East to China and the rest of Asia.) 
Carved from grey steatite, a slate like stone used a lot since ancient times in the Indus Valley and surrounds. Both for carving and turning on simple lathes to produce bowls, and in this case hemispherical beadlike spindle whorls. Many have ancient compass engraved circle like Hittite and other very early pieces.
These whorls are the weight at the bottom of the shaft or stick that made a spindle for spinning thread (cotton, wool or even silk) for weaving fabrics.

Obviously of these 102 whorls (beads depending how you can use them) a few are worn or chipped, others are remarkably detailed but of all the different shapes and styles I haven't found any definite duplicates. You might have more time than me, or when you're pairing them for earrings or necks, you'll enjoy any similarities you find.

We've also got a few loose ones here at the shop and have chosen some of the best to take to Indonesia where our Silversmith has set each into a Sterling Silver ring with a disc of fine granulation covering the central hole through which the spindle was originally poked.
You may still find them on here if you search "whorl".

I wouldn't subject them to any unnecessary violence or washing as the design may lose its contrast and the stone is relatively soft, but heck it's about 1700 years old so treat it with the respect it's due !

 

Age: Circa 400 AD.

Size: Actual whorl diameter about 7mm (one) upto 19 mm.

         (Overall beads L 781 mm  x D 19 mm, string 280 mm.)

Weight: 185 grams..