The Hamsa is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and commonly used in jewelry and wall hangings.
Early use of the hamsa has been traced to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). A universal sign of protection, the image of the open right hand is seen in Mesopotamian artifacts in the amulets of the Qāt Ištar/Inana.
The Hand (Khamsa), particularly the open right hand, is a sign of protection that also represents blessings, power and strength, and is seen as potent in deflecting the evil eye.
Historically and traditionally, it was most commonly carved in jet or formed from silver, a metal believed to represent purity and hold magical properties. It is also painted in red (sometimes using the blood of a sacrificed animal) on the walls of houses for protection, or painted or hung on the doorways of rooms, such as those of an expectant mother or new baby.
Used to protect against evil eye, a malicious stare believed to be able to cause illness, death or just general unluckiness, hamsas often contain an eye symbol.
The hamsa is one of the national symbols of Algeria and appears in its emblem
At the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, the widespread use of the talisman by Jews from Islamic countries was considered a sign of “Easternness”, looked down upon in the Eurocentric Ashkenazi cultural milieu that dominated.
By Social Mediam Morning.com
Resources – Wikipedia/Feature Photo – “Earth Hamsa”, Photo Credit – R.Cross 2009