Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Carved Bone Batten

Bone Batten Diagram.jpg


Carved Bone Batten


The carved bone batten is another elaborate weaving tool, its pointed ends used for picking up certain warps to create patterns and its wide blade for packing down wefts. Not simply a tool, this “art-batten” is carved with two caiman heads on the ends, symbolizing the place where the Earth meets the watery Underworld. A deceased man on his way there, 6 Caiman (to the left) is venerated by kneeling 6 Rain (to the right). The two large central heads discuss this scene, according to the speech scroll coming from the left-hand man’s mouth. This elaborate scene indicates this batten was placed in a high-status grave, perhaps that of 6 Caiman himself.

Geographic Area

Mesoamerica, Valley of Nochixtlan or Valley of Oaxaca




Early Post-Classic, ca. 900–1200 AD


Animal bone

Credit Line

Gift of Cora W. and Laurence C. Witten II

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photo by Michael McKelvey

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