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Amulets

Amulets

Sacred Charms of Power and Protection

The first comprehensive illustrated study of the use of amulets around the world and throughout history

• Explores not only the substances and symbolism from which amulets derive, but also the people and objects they protect

• Explains the differences between and the purposes of amulets, talismans, charms, and fetishes

All over the world and throughout history amulets have offered protection against negative forces, whether witchcraft, the evil eye, enemies, sickness, or accidents. Intricately beautiful or starkly simple, they come in an astonishing variety of guises: from stones, shells, and seeds, through animal tails, teeth, and claws, to beads, mirrors, needles, and bells.

With over 400 lavish color photographs, this book explores amulets from every angle, including their symbolism and the diverse material used to craft them as well as the people and objects they protect. Sheila Paine traveled all over the world--from Afghanistan, Russia, and Albania, to Cameroon, Tunisia, and Mexico--to research the form, properties, and use of amulets, whether for health and safety or as channels for spiritual or magical powers. Worn as necklaces, sewn to clothing, painted on buildings, or hung in vehicles, amulets guard babies and brides; warriors, hunters, and travelers; livestock, crops, and homes through magical, not physical, means. Malign spirits and hobgoblins at crossroads have been feared since ancient times, but modern dangers--car crashes, new diseases, even cell phones--have ensured an abiding faith in the magical protection that amulets afford us that is still widely evident today.
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  • Inner Traditions | 
  • 192 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781594770258 | 
  • September 2004
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Read an Excerpt

Plague & pestilence

As the worst epidemic of the plague since it first appeared in the sixth century swept across Europe and reached the canton of Basel in1329, the good burghers of Switzerland looked for a scapegoat and picked on the innocent Jews. They had deliberately poisoned the wells. The entire Jewish population of the city was rounded up on an island in the Rhine and burnt to death. Still the plague raged, unfavourable star configurations now being blamed, and the atmosphere of terror continued. Amulets were deemed the only protection. Pieces of paper printed with pictures of saints were folded into small packets around... see more

About the Author

Sheila Paine

Sheila Paine is an expert on tribal societies and textiles and is the author of Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents and the trilogy The Afghan Amulet: Travels from the Hindu Kush to Razgrad, The Golden Horde: Travels from the Himalaya to Karpathos, Amulets and The Linen Goddess: Travels from the Red Sea to Prizren. She lives in England.

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