African Art
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Weaving-Loom Pulley Surmounted by Two Figures

late 19th–early 20th century


8 1/16 × 3 3/8 × 2 3/8 in. (20.5 × 8.5 × 6 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
Weaving-loom pulleys are used on narrow looms worked by men to produce strips that are then sewn together to create cloth for wrappers and gowns. The pulley is attached to two heddles, which hold alternate lengthwise warp threads. The heddles are also attached to foot pedals, which pull them up and down, creating a space between the alternate threads so that the shuttle carrying crosswise weft threads can pass easily through the opening. The pulleys often depict spiritual beings, masks, headdresses, and legendary figures. For some weavers, the form of the pulley may be an object of ritual veneration, while for others it may simply provide inspiration as a beautiful object.
19th–20th century
Tools and Equipment
Made in Guinea Coast, Nigeria
Not on view

Robert Duperrier, Paris. Sotheby's, New York, Nov. 29-30, 1984; Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn, 1984–2004; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Frederick John Lamp, “Charles Benenson and His Legacy of African Art to Yale,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2004): 37, ill.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Frederick John Lamp, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 170, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.