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Silver and Coral Amulet

Could anyone help. Pleasantly surprised that a newly acquired amulet has still got its contents, but have got no idea of its origin. Anyone got any ideas. Further photos in the comments.
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  • Hello ZambeziCocktail. The amulet looks very old .... maybe from Afghanistan. The drops are made from tiny Uzbek coral beads and strung in an Uzbek way with little silver spacers between. You can see an example of this stringing on a bracelet from Samarkand on the website of the Museum of Applied Arts, Uzbekistan at http://muzeyart.uz/yuven4.html. See Jewellery, p.4. I also have pieces with exactly this type of stringing from Uzbekistan.

  • Thema thank you for the response and the wonderful cross references.  Very much appreciated.  I agree with you in terms that the amulet itself is very old.  The rest of the necklace, simply made up of two old silver beads and old coral, might not be as old, but the coral is a perfect match to that used on the amulet itself.    

  • This is a true beauty. However, I always leave the content of amulets undisturbed as these are usually about religious matters and prayers for the wearer. Marriage contracts were also kept in such containers and worn on the body for safekeeping. A very good Palestinian friend of mine, whose grand mother was originally Jewish, had such scrolls with the wedding contract, etc. kept in her undergarments. When she passed away, her daughters found them. Unbelievable to have kept them this way over all these years but then, this was considered an essential security for a lady. With kind regards. Peter
  • Peter very much appreciated your comment, as although I knew that these amulets contained prayers and other protective verses, I did not realise that they could also contain something as valuable as a marriage contract.  To be honest, I hoped that the content would give me a little more information about where this item was originally from.  I am hoping to sell it, and thought that it might be useful to know more about it ... and hoped that the script might give us some clues as to its origin (in that someone could tell me is it written in Farsi or Arabic ~ as I don't speak either, I was hoping that someone here might be able to tell me).  I will of course put it very carefully back into the amulet, as this is the very first amulet that I have come across where the content was still in it.  Warm regards

  • The script is in arabic and is (from the excerpts i could read on the pictures) about verses from QURAN!

    It could help if you can shoot the beginning and the end of the roll as it often contains a date or a dedication in the name of the wearer.

    I am not sure but the verses i could read are related to "having children", so it could be an amulet meant to enhance fertility (just a guess)

  • It seems that "oum sobyan" female ogre is the main subject of it. Provided someone could translate the non arabic part, i can say that this is an amulet against this being. Further research into the subject and family information confirmed the fact that this feared monster was thought to be responsible of aborted pregnant ladies or those who can not keep the foetus in the womb until birth. So this amulet was possibly worn by a wannabe mother or at least a pregnant woman who feared for her pregnancy or had already suffered from a non successful pregnancy. It confirms the literal meaning of the quranic verses which are speaking about good and many descent ( with the parabolic image of one prophet story, i think Abraham or Salomon), it also used prophylactic sentences such as " in the name of , Torah, Quran, Evangile, prophets name" to repel the supposed  ill power of this ogre, also there is the use of "khatam" or drawing with kabbalistic names using names of Allah, prophets, angels....

    A note i would stress on is the use of the persian word " KHODA" which is the equivalent of GOD instead of the arabic name " ALLAH" in many places which is quite noteworthy and could mean that the writer or the commissioner was if not from a persian/tajik background, at least living in a place where such influences have been quite remarkable. I am still not sure about the non arabic text, though it seems to me that it is one of the Turkic family language for i could clearly read consonants that are alien to both Persian and Arabic and also Urdu...mainly guttural consonants such as the sound/ consonant/letter "ق or Q" and the sound "غ or GH"

    It is a wonderful piece with a great background but we can unfortunately only shed light on a very tiny part of its real identity and story.


  • OMG. There is a wonderful amuletic curse towards the end it states in arabic "Leave oh "oum soubiyane" in the name of David, in the name of Salomon, in the name of Torah, in the name of Evangile, in the name of quran".  Oum soubiyane, is a very feared female monster ogre.  Her name in arabic translates to something along "Mother of male children".

    First time to see it.  We know about her in Morocco but it is more famous in the middle east.  She has a beautiful female body but often animal feet (cow or goat for example) and tries to seduce men to come with her and marry her.  Well of course men should not but if they refuse they get haunted somehow and if they follow her...they get haunted as well..lol.  Along these lines of course (quite universal theme).

    Again the turkic text (which accounts of most of the amulet is off limit to me, it could give us more insight.  BUT this amulet is definitely the real deal, and very original.  Note that the world "allah" is not mentioned in arabic, the writer used the word "KHODA" which is the name of god in persian!!  quite a puzzle!

    Oh, this female ogre is part seducing the men and part eating small children (male children).  Feared for both.  I think she represents the chtonion demon which destroy the male spirit, either by killing the newborn male babies (think child mortality, think boys dominance over girls) or by seducing the seminal and procreating power of the male elders (especially the unmarried young men)


  • A big thank you to Alaa for providing me with invaluable insight into the content of this amulet ...  I thought others might also be interested, so have copied and pasted our FB communications below.  It is in three parts (as there is a 4000 character limit).  Below our FB communications, and materials I shared with him. To make it easier to read (on the computer), I am going to post the message in three parts, starting at the end, so that when you scroll down you can just continue reading)    

    Alaa “I can tell you that the amulet is not written in arabic, only the verses posted originally above, were from quran and therefore in arabic.  It doesn’t seem to me that it is persian either, (i’m familiar with persian without being able to understand it).  I am pretty sure that it is not Urdu either...possibly a turkic language like uzbek or Kirghiz....if true then it is quite early, because arabic script ceased to be used over there after the region got conquered by russians....possibly later if it was written by a religious scholar who is likely to master arabic and arabic alphabet”.  

    Me "I have been told that the front of the amulet says something like "Mr ILAHI Son of Bazah or Bazeydah".   

    Alaa “This is what i read as well on the amulet...but it is very tricky as the script is rather curved to fit with aesthetic standards and therefore difficult to read”.

    ME "Believe the amulet is Uzbek, with very similar beadwork on old pieces at the Uzbek Museum."  

    Alaa “It makes total sense to me but try to find someone who speaks Uzbek and who can read arabic as well (i think you will have a hard time finding one) to confirm the subject.  

  • What a stunning piece of history!!  Huge congratulations to Zambezi and many thanks to Alaa for providing the information.  This seems like the same "mother of the boys" who appears shackled on the back of Omani samt necklaces.  Fascinating.

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