Brooch to avert the evil eye

Made:
1900-1914 in Europe
maker:
Unknown
Group shot of from left to right A665895 - Amuletic pendant, eye painted on shell in oval metal mount, glazed, with

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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).

Details

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