Charkha, the Traditional Indian Spinning Wheel


Symbol of independence

The tabletop or floor charkha is one of the oldest known forms of the spinning wheel. The charkha works with a drive wheel being turned by hand, while the yarn is spun off the tip of the spindle. The charkha was both a tool and a symbol of the Indian independence movement.

The charkha, a small, portable, hand-cranked wheel, is ideal for spinning cotton and other fine, short-staple fibers, though it can be used to spin other fibers as well. The size varies, from that of a hardbound novel to the size of a briefcase, to a full sized floor charkha like that used by Gandhi in the last photo.

This small Charkha has beautiful inlaid bone patterns in a series of concentric circles and leaf patterns.

Small Spinning Wheel or Charkha

In 2018 we sold this beautiful antique, museum quality, charkha with inlay and lacquerwork. 

Antique Charkha Spinning Wheel

Mahatma Gandhi and the Spinning Wheel
Mahatma Gandhi brought the charkha into larger use with his teachings. He hoped the charkha would assist the peoples of India achieve self-sufficiency and independence, and so used the charkha as a symbol of the Indian independence movement.

Gandhi and Spinning Wheel

Go to our Statues & Carvings collection to see characteristic vintage items from India - both the everyday and the very special! The collection includes far more than just carvings and statues.

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