Figural Heddle Pulley Côte d'Ivoire
A heddle pulley with a crudely carved face on the handle. The origins of this particular pulley are unknown, but we believe it is likely Dan or Baule.
Heddle pulleys are used in weaving cloth out of native-grown cotton and are often sculpted with symbolic imagery. The cord attaching the pulley to the loom was passed through the holes in the head and would be tied to a crossbar of the loom. The roller (generally an old thread spool) over which another cord moved up and downwards was held in place between the two legs of the pulley by a small stick pushed through the center hole of the spool from one leg to the other. The heddle pulley is an integral component for the double-shed loom so common in West Africa where it would open spaces so that the warp (the lengthwise threads) would be separated from the weft threads (horizontal or crossing threads) to allow a shuttle to pass through with the weft threads.