(כַּישׁוֹר, kishor, literally director, i.e. of the spindle), the twirl or lower part of the instrument used in giving motion to the whole (Pr 31:19). SEE DISTAFF. In Egypt spinning was a staple manufacture, large quantities of yarn being exported to other countries, as, for instance, to Palestine in the time of Solomon. The spindles were generally of wood, and they increased their force in turning by having the circular head made of gypsum or some species of composition. In some instances the spindles appear to have been of a light plaited work, made of rushes or palm leaves, stained of various colors, and furnished with a loop of the same materials for securing the yarn after it was wound. In Homer's pictures of domestic life, we find the lady of the mansion superintending the labor of her servants, and sometimes using the distaff herself. Her spindle, made of some precious material, richly ornamented, her beautiful work basket, or rather vase, and the wool dyed of some bright hue to render it worthy of being touched by aristocratic fingers, are ordinary accompaniments of a lady of rank, both in the Egyptian paintings and Grecian poems. This shows how appropriate was the present which the Egyptian queen Alcandra gave to the Spartan Helen, who was not less famous for her beauty than for her skill in embroidery. After Polybius had given his presents to Menelaus, who stopped at Egypt on his return from Troy,
"Alcandra, consort of his high command, A golden distaff gave to Helen's hand; And that rich vase, with living sculpture wrought, Which heaped with wool the beauteous Philo brought, The silken fleece empurpled for the loom, Rivaled the hyacinth in vernal bloom" (Odyssey, 4).
In the East the spindle is held in the hand. often perpendicularly, and is twirled with one hand, while the other draws out the thread (see Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 572; Van Lennep, Bible Lands, p. 565). SEE WEAVE.