CYCLADIC SOCIETY

Spinning and Weaving & Colour

Activities, Arts and Techniques

Spinning and Weaving

Farming provided the Early Cycladic islanders not only with foodstuffs but also with raw materials, such as the leather and the wool they used to make textiles. 

Clay spindle whorls and sewing needles indicate that spinning and weaving were common household activities, and basketry imprints on the bases of several clay vases indicate the practice of basket weaving

Colour

We know that Cycladic sculpture used colour extensively, and that Cycladic figurines were originally painted. Some figurines preserve traces of pigments. Others show smooth areas that appear to have been in relief but were originally painted and thus protected from the erosion that affected the rest of the surface.

All pigments mineral: red was produced from hematite, red ochre, or cinnabar; dark blue from azurite, green from malachite or azurite hydroxide. Traces of red colour on grinding stones and marble bowls suggest that these vessels were used for grinding pigments into powder. Rectangular trays with traces of colour, found together with grinding stones, probably served as palettes for grinding or mixing pigments. Traces of a dark blue pigment inside pyxides, small aryballoid vases, bone cylinders, and seashells indicate that these were used for storing pigments.

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