Lot 1800: Post Medieval Italian Witch Charm Group
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 19th century AD. A group of silver amulets comprising: a salamander with bent body and detailing of scales; a key with snake coiled round the middle and two cockerels to the side; a key with ellipse head; a cimaruta with crescent moon, hand making mano fico gesture and human head; a crescent moon with human face. Cf. Berry, V. Neapolitan Charms Against the Evil Eye, in Folklore, Vol. 79, no. 4 (Winter 1968), pp. 250?56. 15 grams total, 29-46mm (1 1/4 - 1 3/4"). English private collection; acquired in the 1970s. In South Italy there is still a strong belief in the powers of the Evil Eye, or malocchio, and amulets have been made since Roman times to ward off the negative powers. During the 18th and 19th centuries silver amulets were made in the region of Naples to protect against the powers of stregha, or witches. In Italy it was believed that children are especially weak against the forces of the Evil Eye. The high infant mortality rate was more likely due to poor hygiene and diet, but it was attributed to the Evil Eye being cast on them by a jettatore. Jettatore is an Italian word of Neopolitan origin, and was used to refer to one who has the powers of the Evil Eye. [5, No Reserve]
Condition Report: Fine condition.