Fulden Sara-Wissinger
Evil Eyes Nazarlik Mal de Ojo (first piece)
2003
Earthenware Ceramic
18''W X 38''H
EVIL EYE
The evil eye is a folk belief that the envy elicited by the good luck of fortunate people may result in their misfortune, whether it is envy of material possessions including livestock, or of beauty, health, or offspring. The perception of the nature of the phenomenon, its causes, and possible protective measures, varies.

PROTECTIVE TALISMANS & CURES:

Attempts to ward off the curse of the evil eye have resulted in a number of talismans in many cultures. As a class, they are called "apotropaic" (Greek for "prophylactic" or "protective", literally: "turns away") talismans, meaning that they turn away or turn back harm.

Disks or balls, consisting of concentric blue and white circles (usually, from inside to outside, dark blue, light blue, white, dark blue) representing an evil eye are common apotropaic talismans in the Middle East, found on the prows of Mediterranean boats and elsewhere; in some forms of the folklore, the staring eyes are supposed to bend the malicious gaze back to the sorcerer.

Known as nazar (Turkish: nazar boncuğu or nazarlık), this talisman is the most frequently seen in Turkey, found in or on houses and vehicles or worn as beads.

A blue eye can also be found on some forms of the hamsa hand, an apotropaic hand-shaped amulet against the evil eye found in the Middle East. The word hamsa, also spelled khamsa and hamesh, means "five" referring to the fingers of the hand. In Jewish culture, the hamsa is called the Hand of Miriam; in Muslim culture, the Hand of Fatima.

TURKEY:
In Turkey and Balkans, evil eye jewelry and trinkets are particularly common. A nazar or evil eye stone (Turkish: nazar boncuğu) is an amulet from ancient mythology that protects against the evil eye. Colourful beads, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, and all manner of decoration may be adorned by this particularly popular symbol, and it is common to see it on almost anything, from babies, horses, doors to cars, cell phones and even airplanes.

CENTRAL AMERICA:

In Mexico and Central America, infants are considered at special risk for evil eye (see mal de ojo, above) and are often given an amulet bracelet as protection, typically with an eye-like spot painted on the amulet. Another preventive measure is allowing admirers to touch the infant or child; in a similar manner, a person wearing an item of clothing that might induce envy may suggest to others that they touch it or some other way dispel envy.

One traditional cure in rural Mexico involves a curandero (folk healer) sweeping a raw chicken egg over the body of a victim to absorb the power of the person with the evil eye. The egg is later broken into a glass and examined. (The shape of the yolk is thought to indicate whether the aggressor was a man or a woman.) In the traditional Hispanic culture of the Southwestern United States and some parts of Mexico, an egg is passed over the patient and then broken into a bowl of water. This is then covered with a straw or palm cross and placed under the patient's head while he or she sleeps; alternatively, the egg may be passed over the patient in a cross-shaped pattern. The shape of the egg in the bowl is examined in the morning to assess success.
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