05 August, 2009

Old Film with a Turkish Spindle Scene

I watched the 1925 documentary Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life, about a nomadic people's migration to find pasture in the Middle East, and was happy to find in it a short scene of women spinning on drop spindles. It's right at the beginning of the part where the filmmakers find the people.

The spinners are sitting on the ground. They wind on in ball shapes around the crossed pieces of Turkish spindles. The fibre is in a strip wrapped around the left wrist.

I'm guessing that the fibre they use is wool. Their sheep look like the fat-tailed type.

Just a note on watching this old film. You know how films will say no animals were harmed in the making of the film? This is not one of those films. The animal deaths were a genuine part of the people's daily lives. The filmmakers are quite clear that the hunter ate the wild animal he killed, and that all of the domesticated flocks would have died of starvation if their owners hadn't forced the animals to cross the river. Still, it was really unpleasant to see sheep go under.

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