The base of an epinetron from Athens

The epinetron (Greek: ἐπίνητρον, plural: epinetra, ἐπίνητρα; "distaff"); Beazley also called them onoi, singular: onos) was a shape of Attic pottery worn on the thighs of women during the preparation of wool, not unlike a thimble for the thigh.[1] Decorated epinetra were placed on the graves of unmarried girls, or dedicated at temples of female deities.[citation needed]

Because of the strong association between wool-working and the ideal woman and wife—as in the case of Penelope weaving in the Odyssey—it is a shape associated with the wedding.[2] Its decoration was not exclusively related to its own use, though it often was. Often the top surface was incised to make it rough in order to rub the wool fibers. There was often a female head placed at the closed end where the knee was covered. Epinetra were often decorated, sometimes depicting black figure amazon women, as in the case of an epinetron painted by Sappho between 500-490 BCE.[3]


  1. ^ "Epinetron". www.beazley.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  2. ^ Compare the loutrophoros, which also had a strong connection to the wedding.
  3. ^ "Epinetron". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2020-07-07.

External links