Old Large Hand of Fatima – KHAMSA – HAMESH – Tunisia
Early to mid 20th century. Silver gr. 34,1 (1.20 oz); Cm. 8,6 high x cm. 5,8 width (3.39″, 2.28”).
The KHAMSA hand (Arabic) or HAMESH hand (Hebrew) is and old and still popular apotropaic amulet for magical protection from the envious or evil eye. An alternative Islamic name for this amulet is Hand of Fatima, in reference to the daughter of Mohammed. An alternative Jewish name for it is Hand of Miriam, in reference to the sister of Moses and Aaron.
The words KHAMSA or HAMESH mean “five” and have a sacred value. The hand is painted on the doors as symbol of good luck. Amulet in the etymological sense of the word, the hand is also a talisman of fertility. There is good archaeological evidence to suggest that the protective use of HAMESH / KHAMSA predates both Judaism and Islam and that it refers to ancient Middle Eastern goddess whose hand wards off the evil eye.
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