Distaff power



Distaff power
Detail: Image of woman (possibly Queen Gwenivere) battling a man (possibly the evil suitor and pretender to Arthur’s throne, Mordret) with her flax distaff, in margins of a manuscript (pictured at right) of Arthurian romances, France, c. 1300, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; MS 229, . f. 329r

Distaffs for flax were weapons of choice for women in late medieval and early modern imagery. There are multiple examples of women using staffs well-loaded with flax to tilt at dragons and unwanted suitors.

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