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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/477

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Collectanea. 459

In Spain the primitive and customary form of the " fig " hand developed in an extraordinary, and probably unique, manner, the cause of which may possibly be found in the reinforcement of the ancient belief by the Moorish faith in the protective virtues of a simple image of the hand. Not only was the original object magnified, and strengthened by the addition of several smaller and similar hands, but various other supposedly pro- tective symbols were combined with it, and the whole design was executed in some material, generally jet, in itself deemed preservative against fascination. Two very elaborate amulets of this kind are referred to by Cuming ;i one, of jet, has a crescent moon upon the palm, two little hands upon the sides of the wrist, and a figure with a child upon the frill at the end of the wrist; the other, also with a crescent moon upon the palm, has upon the wrist a construction upheld by four small hands, and terminating in a knob. They are said to be Spanish, dating probably from about the end of the sixteenth century, and to be charms against the evil eye. Compare Jet.

The figure of an open hand, which is still used by the Mohammedan nations as a protection against the evil eye, is to be found on various Moorish structures in Spain, and notably on one of the principal gates of the Alhambra. A curious coincidence in connection with this figure, which, as an amulet, has probably long been neglected in Spain, is that it is being re-introduced in the shape of a metal " charm " of foreign, but European, manufacture, copied in miniature from a common North African form, and probably intended principally for sale in North Africa, sold in the streets of Madrid (as elsewhere on the continent) as a bringer of good fortune.

(20, V.) A glass "fig" hand, probably of Spanish manu- facture, white, overlaid with streaks and spots of red, green, blue, and yellow; Madrid. Slightly broken. The bright colours,

both, by Spanish bull-fighters. Such men, being exposed at critical moments to the thousands of envious glances, and perhaps to some of naturally "evil" eyes, are likely to retain longer a belief in the necessity of these amulets than, probably, any other class of the population.

^Cuming, "On the Hand Amulet," y^wr. Arch. Assn., Lond., 1866, p. 291 ; as taken from Douce's Illustrations of Shakespeare.