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Obj. ID: 35884
Sacred and Ritual Objects
  Amulet, Azemour, circa 1925

© 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.

This amulet is in the form of a large hamsa with a small eagle in top center and two cast swords placed at the sides. The decorative patterns are those used by the silversmiths in Azemour, an origin confirmed by the silver marks on the back. The image of the eagle is a symbol of spring, renewal, and power of protection. The swords, the "Tajdid", protection against Lilith and in general to chase away evil spirits, indicate that this was created as a birth amulet or for a person who simply has troubles. The hamsa inside another hamsa, signifies inside protection as well as outside. The half circles symbolize the eye which is itself an antidote against the “evil eye”.

The hamsa (five, as in five fingers) is an amulet shaped like a hand. The hamsa is arguably the most popular form of amulet against the Evil Eye and is used in a large number of countries. Probably originating in Moslem Spain of the 12th or 13th century, it crossed the sea to Morocco and spread across North Africa to the Middle and Far East.

3 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Amulet | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
circa 1925
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Silver, Cut, Engraved, Cast, Cut, Riveted
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height: 14.3 cm, Width: 11.8 cm Weight: 122 g
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Iconographical Subject
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
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
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
City - fish; Azemour in Arabic script
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
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.