Burnett Wint Jr Art History 1 Professor Valazquez LAS53176 THE ART OF FAITH THROUGH SYMBOLS IN RELIGION TheHamsa Handis an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings its owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. The hamsa hand has a wide variety of different spellings which includes hamesh, hamsa, chamsa, and khamsa. It is also identified as the Hand of Miriam, Aaron and Moses’s sister, and the Hand of Fatima. The hamsa hand has two main styles. One style is shaped like a regular hand, and the other has two symmetrical thumbs. The second of the two styles is the most popular. The wearer of the hamsa hand can wear it facing up or down and it is believed to give the owner success, harmony, and protection from the “Ayin Ha’ra,”also known as The Evil Eye. The hamsa hand meaning has a variety of interpretations, depending on the culture. The word, “hamsa,” derives its name from the five fingers on the hand. In Hebrew, the number five is “hamesh” and the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is “Hey,” one of God’s holy names. “Hamesh” is representative of the five books of the Torah. In
Judaism, it is also interpreted to be the Hand of Miriam, and symbolic of the owner’s five senses in an effort to praise God. In Arabic, it is “khamesh.” In the Sunni culture, the hamsa is associated with the Five Pillars of Islam. For the Shi’tes, it symbolizes the Five People of the Cloak. In the Islamic faith, it symbolizes as The Hand of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed. Evil Eyeis one of the strongest symbolic images in the world. The evil eye meaning dates back almost 3,000 years to ancient Greece and Rome. Wearing an evil eye as an amulet is believed to provide protection against evil forces. The evil eye meaning has symbolism in almost every country in the world and in every religion, such as Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, and Christianity. The evil eye is a look given to inflict harm, suffering, or some form of bad luck on the person that it is cast upon. Giving someone “the evil eye”is a look which clearly states that one intends for something bad to happen to the other person, either out of jealousy or pure malice. It is believed by many cultures that the look is powerful enough to bring about actual disaster for the unfortunate person that is the receiver of the glare. In many cultures, excessive praise or receiving admiration beyond what is truly deserved can bring upon the scorn of the evil eye, which was believed to cause physical and mental illness. Ashkenazi Jews believe that excessive praise causes a vulnerability
to the evil eye, and will repeat a Yiddish phrase, “Keyn aynhoreh!”meaning “no evil eye” in order to protect against it.
- Spring '17
- Julio Sanchez
- Judaism, Evil eye, Star of David, Hamsa, Magen David