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Lot 1796: Post Medieval Italian 'Mano Fico' Witch Charm

Antiquities: Day 3

by TimeLine Auctions

December 8, 2016

London, United Kingdom

Live Auction
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Description: 19th century AD. A silver amulet in the form of a right hand making the 'mano fico' sign with thumb between fore and middle finger, and holding a trefoil object, stamped to the underside with silver mark; ruffled collar at wrist and ending in an openwork acanthus leaf with three lobed suspension ring. 16 grams, 56mm (2 1/4"). Property of an collector, East Anglia, UK; previously from an old Country House sale in Norfolk. The mano fico, also called figa, is an Italian amulet of ancient origin. Examples have been found from the Roman era, and it was also used by the Etruscans. Mano means hand and fico or figa means fig, with the idiomatic slang connotation of a woman's genitals. Whether made as an apotropaic gesture or worn as an amulet, the mano fico is used for magical protection against the evil eye, and in this it resembles other hand gestures and hand images that ward off evil. A regionally popular amulet, it is primarily found in Italy, being produced mainly in the Naples region, and in other parts of Europe and America among descendants of Italian immigrants. [No Reserve]

Condition Report: Fine condition.

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