More Islamic amulets

Digital Capture This is a brass amulet from Ghaznavid ruled Persia in the 10th century. The amulet is pierced and incised brass which is 2.4 cm in diametre. It is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

neilloamulet10thcentiran This amulet case is silver inlaid with black niello and made between the 10th-11th century in Samanid ruled Iran. The niello is in curlicue and kufic inscription. The inscription is a blessing for a man named Hasan ibn Ahmad, probably the owner of the case. It would have held a verse of the Qur’an. The size is 4.6 cm by 4.3 cm by 1.2 cm. The amulet is in the the David Collection.

seljukamuletcase12thcent This amulet case is from the early 12th century Seljuk Empire. It is 3.4 cm wide, made of gold and decorated by repoussé with a kufic inscription. It was sold by Christies for £5,875 ($9,306).

ghuridamuletcase12thcent This case is also gold decorated by repoussé but from north-east Iran ruled the Ghurid Dynasty. It is 4.5 cm wide, with a kufic inscription al-mulk li’llah or ‘Sovreignty is God’s’. It was sold by Christies for £16,100 ($32,764).

The cases would have held text from the Qur’an such as-
quranscroll14thcent This scroll is from the 14th century to be kept in a case. It is 755 cm long and 10 cm wide. It contains 114 chapters of the Qur’an (or suras) as well as the 99 names of Allah. It is in the David Collection.

Recommended reading
Islamic Jewelry in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Marilyn Jenkins & Manuel Keene. Via Google Books.

Please see the previous post Islamic amulets for more recommended reading.

Islamic amulets


This is a block printed 11th century Egyptian amulet. There seems to be no translation available for the above amulet but they are all prayers for help and quotes from the Qur’an. This amulet is ink on paper, in the kufic script, height 23 cm and width 8.4 cm. It also has the six-pointed star (the Star of David), known as the Seal of Solomon. The paper is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. This was used in other countries and time periods, like the Maronites (please see the Maronite Mummies post).

The ring is also in the Heilbrunn Tineline of Art History but is is a ring from Iran. Made in the 16th century, it is of cast and chased gold with carved nephrite, height 3.5 cm and diametre of 2.5 cm. This does have a translation. The ring says-

Call upon ‘Ali whose miracles manifest,
you will find his help in times of misfortune
All anguish and sorrow will dissipate
Through your friendship
Oh ‘Ali Oh ‘Ali Oh ‘Ali

The ring calls upon Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.

This shirt is in the Topkapi Palace Museum. Worn in battle, it is ink on stiffened cotton. It contains prayers to Ali (see above) as well as Qur’an verses. These are similar to other talismanic shirts from India of the same time period.
Bibliography
Binding words: textual amulets in the Middle Ages by Don C. Skemer. Via Google Books.
Hamsa by Menachem Wecker. On My Jewish Learning.
Amulets and Talismans from the Islamic World by Yasmine Al-Saleh. On Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
Islam and the Arts of the Ottoman Empire by Brian Hogarth. Via Google Docs.
Images of the Human Hand as Amulets in Spain by W. L. Hildburgh. JStor article.
Medieval Arabic Ṭarsh: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Printing by Richard W. Bulliet. JStor article.