Heddle Pulley (bird)

c. 1935
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Did You Know?

There are eleven species of hornbills in Côte d'Ivoire, where this bird-topped pulley was carved.


The heddle pulley, a working element of a narrow-band loom, bears a miniature sculpture. Heddle pulleys support and separate threads during weaving. Mounted above the weaver, the pulleys allow him to glance up at an object of inspiring beauty, rather than pure functionality. This pully depicts a slender-beaked hornbill reaching toward its belly and may allude to fertility. Besides inspiring weavers, these publicly visible miniature sculptures reportedly acted as “advertisements” for carvers in parts of West Africa.
Heddle Pulley (bird)

Heddle Pulley (bird)

c. 1935

Africa, West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Baule-style carver

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