The spinning top is one of the world’s oldest toys. Found in all cultural circles of the world independently of one another, spinning tops were made from various natural materials. Clay tops have been discovered in archaeological digs that date as far back as 3500 B.C. in the city Ur, southeast of Baghdad, Terra Cotta tops were discovered at Troy that date to 3000 B.C., and Egyptian, Greek and Roman tops have been found dating from 2000 B.C. to 27 B.C. Spinning tops have been used throughout history for many purposes. Children have used them for centuries as toys and pastimes. They have also been used in prophecy, gambling and as gifts to honor the Gods, or in some cultures, as items to take into the afterlife. Today, spinning tops provide play and distraction. They are also used in tournaments and championships in games of skill as well as in role-playing games. The body of a spinning top has at least one axis, known as a principle axis, around which it spins. They traditionally have a peg shape in which the top of the body is much wider than the bottom, or tip. Spinning tops also include a mechanism to begin the spinning such as a spring cap, stem, string or pump. They can be made of a variety of materials including wood, clay, stone and metal, and are typically brightly painted. Spinning tops come in many different sizes. The largest top weighs around 15 lbs., found in primitive Malay and most often used by adults. Drawings of large parish tops weighing up to 2 lbs. and reaching 8 inches tall have also been recovered. The common child's toy we know today is typically no larger than a few inches in height and diameter. You’ll find historical tops in various toy museums and collections all over the world. With all its wonderful facets, the spinning top will always find their fanciers.
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