Brooch to avert the evil eye

Made:
1900-1914 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Group shot of from left to right A665895 - Amuletic pendant, eye painted on shell in oval metal mount, glazed, with
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Amuletic brooch, operculum of shell in metal rim with pin, to avert Evil Eye, European, possibly Italian, 1900-1914

On the right, the shell’s colouring and shape looks like an eye. It is mounted in a metal rim. The brooch was worn to protect the wearer from the ‘evil eye’, a once widespread belief that some people can cause harm to others simply by looking at them in a certain way. This ‘look’ may be given deliberately, in an attempt to cause harm, or accidentally, perhaps because of feelings of envy . The harm may take the form of bad luck, illness or death.

The amulet is shown here with two others worn to protect against the evil eye (A132526 and A665895).

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Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A666110
Materials:
alloy, shell
type:
brooch
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume
  • jewellery
  • pin - jewelry
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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