Mangle for seeding cotton



Tetun peoples
Early 20th century
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General Description

In contrast to ordinary mangles, this one is elaborately decorated with relief carved human figures and birds and incised geometric patterns. The human figures represent the weaver's forebears, who passed their skills down the generations. They protected her as she created potent motifs on powerful textiles. The birds, symbols of strength and courage, are envoys between the realms of humans and deities. The incised "hooked lozenge" pattern is found on Timorese textiles and carvings. The mangle belonged to an aristocratic female master weaver whose husband carved it for her.

To operate a mangle, the weaver inserts cotton bolls between the rollers and turns the handle; as the cotton moves through, the seeds pop out. After the cotton has been cleaned and fluffed up, it is spun into yarn using a spindle or spinning wheel.

Excerpt from

  • DMA label text.