Faith Will Protect You From Women Bearing Distaves and Other Grotesque Forces of Chaos
This illustration is from the Luttrell Psalter, a 14th century illuminated manuscript of the book of psalms. The Psalter is part of the collection of the British Library, and you can view individual pages here or in a page-turning presentation that includes text and audio narration here for broadband or here for narrowband.
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According to the article at Wikipedia, the Luttrell Psalter "is considered to be the richest source for everyday rural life in England of the Middle Ages."
Including, apparently, the danger of angry women bearing distaves. Note the spindle with a well-filled cop hanging from the distaff.
These figures appear in the margin of Psalm 31 on page 8 of the Psalter.
Here is a rather more peaceful scene of a woman feeding her hen and chicks, distaff and spindle at the ready in her waistband, the forces of chaos held at bay.
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