Historical art is a great source for understanding how the tools of the time looked and were used. Strikingly often, one can understand that the artist had little understanding of, for example, the function of looms. However, this particular one seems to work fine.
The woman in the picture is weaving a plain weave and she is holding a weave shuttle. The woman on the floor is winding a bobbin for the shuttle. Both the loom and the bobin machine are imaginative for the understanding of what they looked like at the time.
The story itself can also give clues of what is depicted. Since the weaver is weaving a shroud we are quite sure it’s supposed to be linen.
The painting is at the National Gallery in London and is dated to 1509 circa.
Photos by Historical Textiles.
/ Amica and Maria