A talisman to ward off evil, probably 1700's-1800's

Source:  http://islamicart.com//main/calligraphy/catalog/india.html
(downloaded April 2000)

"Probably India, 18th-19th century. Ink and gouache on paper stuck on cardboard, 10 x 6 1/4 in. Riyadh, Rifaat Sheikh El-Ard collection. Sotheby's (1980 b), lot 181, p. 86.

This talisman written in heavily stylized Kufic script makes a particularly striking and powerful impression. Similar to a mihrab in shape, it is made up of three separate parts. At the top and bottom are triangular and semi-circular panels bearing standard formulae used amongst other things for warding off evil. The four central panels contain the Surah LXVIII, Al-Qalam, The Pen, verses 51- 52:

               "And the unbelievers
               Would almost trip thee up
               With their eyes when they hear the Message; and they
               Say: Surely he is possessed
               But it is nothing less
               Than a Message
               To all the worlds."

Although these verses were not often used as a talisman, their references to the eyes of evil men, madness and possession, would seem to render them appropriate. The one the unbelievers describe as being "mad" and "possessed" is Muhammad himself. The "Message" he was bringing was of course the Qur'an, the antithesis of madness and regarded by Muslims as the cure for all evil. This probably explains the choice of these two verses as a talisman. At least two other versions of this composition are known, but this is the only one to have floral decoration. Like many talismans, this one was probably intended to prevent or even cure a specific evil, though it is not clear which one."

A Persian manuscript on talismans, North India, 1700's

Source: http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/search/LotDetail.asp?sid=&intObjectID=4692190&SE=CMWCAT03+14494+215580984+&QR=M+1+86+Aqc0000900+12434++Aqc0000900+&entry=india&SU=1&RQ=True&AN=87
(downloaded Mar. 2006)

"A LEAF FROM A MANUSCRIPT ON TALISMANS, NORTH INDIA, 18TH CENTURY. From an Arabic [actually Persian with some Arabic phrases] manuscript of a magical or talismanic nature, with a miniature of two scorpions in gouache with lines of black nasta'liq above and below- folio 12¾ x 8in. (32.3 x 20.3cm.)."

A leaf from a manuscript that probably dealt with talismans, 1800's

Source: http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/search/LotDetail.asp?sid=&intObjectID=4692259&SE=CMWCAT04+19719+%2D1963285561+&QR=M+1+31+Aqc0000900+16858++Aqc0000900+&entry=india&SU=1&RQ=True&AN=32
(downloaded Mar. 2006)

"LEAF FROM A MANUSCRIPT ON TALISMANS (?), INDIA, 19TH CENTURY. Gouache on paper, with a geometric design filled with inscriptions, mounted, framed and glazed- 6 x 5¼in. (15.5 x 13.2cm.)."

Three silver protective amulets to be worn around the neck: the first has the Ayat ul-Kursi on it; the second has the names of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus and their dog;  the third has numbers in a magic square

Source: ebay, July 2008

A "bazu-band" that could hold several different texts or charms; it was tied around the upper arm, often to protect a traveler leaving on a journey (1800's, Afghanistan?)

Source: ebay, Oct. 2008

Another bazu-band, of a simpler style

Source: ebay, Dec. 2010

A silver-mixed metal amulet case, 4 cm. long, from Afghanistan, c.1800's

Source: ebay, Apr. 2008

A Persian amulet case, c.1800's, made of bronze and glass beads

Source: ebay, May 2008

A modern Ratangarhi-style necklace with a silver amulet-case; it would contain some protective verse or charm

Source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/LA59/
(downloaded Apr. 2008)

A modern silver amulet case decorated with an image of Ganesh

Source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/JPU75/
(downloaded Apr. 2008)

A massive Shaivite necklace (neck size 14", weight 1 lb. 14 oz.) that must have had dedicatory or ritual functions; Nandi below, and two peacocks above, keep watch over a lingam

Source: ebay, May 2009

A modern Tibetan-style Buddhist amulet case showing the protective goddess Tara; *a view of how the case swings open*

Source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/product/JNC58/
(downloaded Oct. 2008)

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