khamsa

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  7. [figure- and animal-derived motifs]
  8. khamsa
Scope note
Middle Eastern and North African motif in the form of a stylized handprint with an eye in the center, generally associated with good health and warding off evil. The so-called "hand" is generally symmetrical with two small "thumbs" on each side rather than a little finger on one side. The motif is most often seen in modern times in Jewish and Islamic jewelry and decorations at doors, but it pre-dates both Islam and Judaism. It may have developed from a symbol for a vagina, referring to the Punic goddess, Tanit, influenced by the palmette motif and joined with the Ancient Egyptian eye of Horus motif.
khamsa
Accepted term: 08-Jul-2024