Posted on October 11, 2019 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Modern evil eye bangle
Belief in the “evil eye” is an astounding example of how one idea can be transmitted across the world, holding relevance for ancient and modern peoples alike. Simply put, the evil eye is believed to be a curse caused by a malevolent glare that causes misfortune for the recipient of the look. Many sources point to classical antiquity as the origin place of the evil eye belief. In fact, the evil eye is covered by a wide variety of classic writers, including Plato, Hesiod, Pliny the Elder, and Plutarch.
Although the evil eye was feared with varying intensity in classical Rome and Greece, the idea was powerful enough to spread across West Asia and was likely propagated by Alexander the Great’s conquest. From there, the idea traveled to the Americas with the onset of European colonialism and later, by West Asian immigrants. Eventually, lore about the evil eye could be found in Armenia, Albania, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Greece, the Levant, Afghanistan, Syria, southern Spain, and Mexico.
The evil eye wasn’t a mere fringe belief, either. It was taken seriously by major religions, and mention of it can be found in the Old Testament and the Quran. As such, measures to protect oneself from the widely feared evil eye were in order. Evil eye talismans, designed to protect the bearer from the evil eye’s curse, took a variety of shapes, three of which are still easily recognized today. The following three evil eye talismans often appear as jewelry and wall or door hangings. Whether you believe they offer real protection from curses—or simply make beautiful souvenirs—one thing is for sure: these evil eye talismans have a rich and special history!
In the Aegean region, light-colored eyes were fairly rare. Green eyes, and especially blue eyes, were believed to possess powers of the evil eye. Accordingly, blue-eyed, eye-shaped talismans were created to protect bearers from the curse of the evil eye. Believed to have originated in Turkey, these Nazar charms are a stunning shade of royal blue.
This palm-shaped amulet may also be familiar to you. With origins in the Middle East and North Africa, the Hamsa makes an appearance in Jewish, Muslim, and Indian traditions (and is sometimes referred to as the “Hand of Fatima” after the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad).
Modern Hamsa necklace
Finally, the Boncuk bead is a variation of the Nazar, with roots in the Mediterranean. These blue glass beads are believed to date back as early as the development of glassmaking itself, illustrating that the evil eye belief links not only varying cultures but also different forms of artistic creation!
Modern evil eye necklace