Monday 7 January 2008

Seed Amulets

In Bazaar in Isfahan
In shrine in village of Abyaneh

At home - purchased in Abyaneh

Throughout Iran I admired the amulets to ward off the evil eye made of thread, shells, scraps of cloth and what looked like chick peas or peas. They were in restaurants, mosques, shrines and in ethnographical museums( these were particularly elaborate macrame items) In the village of Abyaneh they had large ones at a shrine, faded to brown and also smaller ones sold by a man on behalf of his wife while we were picnicing. I couldn't resist buying one. Despite careful wrapping, some of the 'peas' came off during travel and were not peas at all but capsules of small triangular seeds.
Just been having a search to find what they might be. I supect that they are Peganum harmada (Syrian Rue or Harmal) which contains alkaloids of psycho- active nature and are burnt in incense as a 'mind purifier' charm against the evil eye!

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