The first thing to do before entering fully into the definition of the term rueca is to know its etymological origin. In this sense, we can determine that it derives from the Germanic “rocco”, which was the word that was used to define an instrument that was used to proceed to make wool threads.
Distaff is the name that receives a machine which enables spin (reduce a fiber to thread). This device has a rod that ends in a head where the fiber is rolled. Thanks to a wheel, a crank (or a pedal) and a rotating support, spinning can be done.
Historians claim that the spinning wheel emerged about three millennia BC . The first were driven by hand but, from century XVI , a pedal was added so that the user I could have both hands free.
The essential component of the spinning wheel is the wheel , which makes the other parts of the machine work. He pedal that mobilizes the wheel is connected to it through a transmission bar .
It is important to note that the spinning wheel has symbolic values. The image of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary working with a spinning wheel, since this woman who lived in him 13th century I used to spin for the poor. The spinning wheel also became a symbol of Indian independence: Mahatma Gandhi promoted a campaign for the Indians to manufacture their clothes using wheels and stop buying the products arrived from the British Empire . In this way, he managed to undermine, at least in part, the interests of the English.
In the same way, it is interesting to highlight that it is also present in our cultural heritage through different stories. Thus, for example, the idea that a spinning wheel was precisely the instrument that played a fundamental role in the story of "Sleeping Beauty." And it was exposed that it was that one that caused the young woman to hurt herself and fall "magically" in a dream. However, that has been an error that has passed from generation to generation and that is that the wheel does not have any type of needle.
It is known as “The Virgin of the rueca” to a picture of Leonardo da Vinci that is lost, but that has been reproduced by many painters throughout the history . This work shows Jesus as a child, looking at a spinning wheel that Mary use to spin.
Within the artistic field, we cannot ignore the existence of another very famous painting internationally and at the top of the history of art, in which the wheels take center stage. This is "Las hilanderas" (1657), made by Diego Velázquez. In the National Museum of the Prado, in Madrid, it is where it is exposed, in which you can see several women who are working in the workshop of the Tapestry Factory of Santa Isabel in the capital of Spain.