Obj. ID: 36739
Sacred and Ritual Objects Amulet, Iraqi Kurdistan, circa 1920
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.
From the relatively large number of surviving examples, some eight of which exist in the Gross Family Collection, it would seem that the area of Iraqi Kurdistan produced the most amuletic necklaces that we know, featuring various amuletic devices to protect the wearer. Haning from this one is small version of the normal Iraqi Kurdistan rectangular amulet The chain is formed from special links made of four loops and a solid center circle. Attached to this chain are bells and a number of symbols against the Evil Eye, such as.the star and crescent, a shoe, a scissors, a trap and the bells themselves for the noise that they make.
Inscription: Ankatam Pastam.......