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Chalk Line Winder - Sumi Tsubo

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1965T3218
Collection:Social History - Pinto Collection
Date:1700 - 1800


This is a carpenter's chalk line winder from China. It was used to mark up wooden boards for cutting. The delicate mother-of-pearl handle operated the wheel which wound the string over a shallow hollow containing chalk or black ink. Two woodworkers held the line taut above the surface of the wood. One person then lifted the middle of the line upwards so that when it was released it left a straight line mark on the wood. This ornate winder is made from mulberry wood and is carved with various stylised sea creatures. It dates from the 18th century.

Purchased from Edward H Pinto, 1965.

Further Information

Production Period:18th century
Medium:Carved. Turned.
Place of Origin:China


Height:8.3 cm
Width:24.2 cm
Depth:9 cm