rectangular box-like metal pendant with incised grid lines on front; stars and linear characters incised in grid squares; dark brown cord threaded through two copper loops

Amulet, first half 20th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Some Muslim men and women in West Africa wear amulets suspended from their necks. The amulets usually contain verses from the Qur’an and other religious writings that have protective powers for the worshipers. This bronze amulet is, in addition, decorated on its surface with a mystic square. Its 49 cells contain numbers, letters, and symbols, including stars that refer to King Solomon—all signs that are believed to keep the owner from harm. A word is engraved on the sides of the square, al-Mamthar, which appears to be formed by linking the letters of the first words of a powerful protective prayer, the Sharaf al-Shams.

Details
Title
Amulet
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2018.1.2
Curator Approved

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rectangular box-like metal pendant with incised grid lines on front; stars and linear characters incised in grid squares; dark brown cord threaded through two copper loops