Crescent Moon, Italy


Transferred from the Wellcome Institute in 1985; 1985.52.408
This copper charm was purchased in Rome, Italy. It is one of many charms and amulets once worn for protection against the Evil Eye – the power to inflict malady or misfortune with a glance that certain people are feared to possess.
Like manu cornuta (horned hands) and animal horns, the crescent moon, or horned moon, was thought to be powerful against the Evil Eye because it is shaped like a horn, which is an emblem of the Roman goddess Diana. Worn by children and adults, hung on animal harnesses, or nailed over the doors of buildings, these emblems were thought to secure the goddess’s protection. The inclusion of the unlucky number thirteen in this charm was thought to counteract the greater misfortune that might result from the glance of an Evil Eye.

Connected Objects: Horned Hand, Crab Claw

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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