Hunchback Charm, Italy


Transferred from the Wellcome Institute in 1985; 1985.52.1442
Il gobbo, the hunchback, was once a popular charm in Italy. He was typically depicted as a dapper little man wearing a dress suit and a top hat. This little gobbetti is carved from mother of pearl shell, but others were made of red coral or silver. He would have been worn on a watch chain or in a bunch with other charms, and was believed to banish malevolent forces and bring good luck. During the 19th and early 20th centuries a person with spinal curvature was also considered a good omen, and gamblers believed that touching their back would bring luck. 

Artisans of Memory

Behind the scenes of an amulets project

This series of short films follows the progress and practices of those connected with the Small Blessings project as they unravel the stories surrounding these curious objects.

The full series of films may be viewed here.


Amulets Competition

The competition is now closed and a winner has been announced. Find out more here.

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