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Part of a silver necklace decorated with the 'hand of Fatimah', Palestine, 1800-1930

The ‘Hand of Fatimah’ (Fatima) is an ancient symbol traditionally carried by many Muslims as protection against the ‘evil eye’, a 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 . Fatimah was the daughter of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The hand is a common symbol in Islamic jewellery, art and decoration. It is also said to give the wearer strength, protect their family and ensure fertility.

Object number:

A167072

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    Glossary: necklace

    Ornaments worn around the neck, usually in the form of chains or strands of beads, pearls, stones, or the like, and often including a suspended ornamental pendant. Use "chokers" for short, narrow necklaces worn close to the throat. Use "dog collars (necklaces)" for wide ornamental bands worn tightly around the neck.

    Glossary: infertility

    No description.

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: evil eye

    A manifestation of magic, commonly regarded as a curse which may result in bad luck, illness or even death. It has a place in many different cultures.