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Obj. ID: 11556
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Amulet, Iran, 1859

© Gross Family Collection, Photographer: Bar Hama, Ardon,

The following description was prepared by William Gross:

From earliest times, man has tried to protect himself from misfortune by the use of objects which he considered holy or otherwise (e.g., magically) potent. Amulets and talismans are items generally worn around the neck or wrist, carried in a pocket or purse or hung on a wall. They are meant to protect or aid those who carried or wore them. The Hebrew word for amulet, kame‘a, has the root meaning "to bind". Jewish amulets are usually comprised of texts (either letters or graphic symbols) that are inscribed on some sort of material; some may also contain plant matter or precious stones. The texts of amulets usually include holy names that are believed to have the ability to affect reality, along with incantations summoning angels or other magical powers. For the most part, an amulet has a specific purpose: to ease childbirth, facilitate recovery from illness, improve one’s livelihood, and so on, but in the modern world many are also made for general protection.

There are more surviving silver amulets from Iran than from any other area. Within this large quantity of amulets, there are a number of distinctive groups of similar form. This type is quite large and usually beautifully inscribed with fine Hebrew with a finely engraved Hebrew script, usually with hollow letters. They also generally carry the name of the woman for whom they were created. On the back of this particular example are inscribed both the name of the owner, Rachel bat Pigama, and the date of the creation of the amulet, 1858/59. Dated amulets are quite unusual and this is a very early date among those few dated pieces. It is the earliest dated silver amulet in the Gross Family Collection. Since most amulets were created for a specific purpose and person, after the need passed they were not saved. Because they were of an expensive material, they were usually melted down and used for the creation of another amulet for the next need. Therefore older examples are quite rare. This is one of the oldest dated Iranian amulet in the Gross Family Collection.

On this amulet is a depiction of the Magen David, a magic symbol in and of itself, while around the perimeter is the 22-letter name of God, the names of the angels Sanoi, Sansanoi and Smangalaf. These may indicate that this is also a birth amulet for the owner in addition to conveying a general protection for the wearer. Additionally there is the 14-letter name of God as a general protection. The amulet also carries inscriptions with more than ten different abbreviations of biblical verses, names of God and names of angels.

Inscription: Front, outer rim: In the name of (the 22-letter name of God) - Be-Shem Ankatam......., Sanoi, Sansanoi, Smangalaf, (the 14 letter name), Tzamarchad Back: On the name of Rachel who is born from Bigama, 5639 [=1878/79]

Summary and Remarks

6 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Amulet | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
1859
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Iran
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Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Iconographical Subject
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
Material/Technique
Silver, Engraved, Punched, Chased, Soldered
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Diameter: 10 cm Weight: 67 g
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources
Type
Documenter
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Author of description
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |