Friday, June 15, 2012

17/18th Century Amulet Reconstructed - Part 1 [image corrected 29/11/2013]

In 1971 the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, released a publication titled "Jewish Tradition in Art." In this beautiful tome the author, Isaiah Shachar, presents a detailed survey of the many objects to be found in the Feuchtwanger Collection of Judaica. Included amongst the listed items are around 300 Hebrew amulets, in fact, some of the most famous images of Hebrew amulets doing the rounds online, derive from this superb collection. As it is, I personally find perusing the pages of this text to be most gratifying, and have derived therefrom information which plays a vital role in "The Book of Seals and Amulets."

Isaiah Shachar opens the section dealing with amulets with a very weathered image of a Kamea, which was constructed in Germany sometime during the 17/18th century. The amulet is virtually illegible in parts, however, by carefully investigating its component parts, I was able to work a full reconstruction.

As it is, the item is comprised of several of the standard Divine Names often employed in Kameot, i.e. the Ineffable Name, the "Name of Seventy-two Names," the "Forty-two Letter Name of God," etc., as well as verses and abbreviations of sections of the Hebrew Bible relevant to the fundamental intention behind its construction. So, finding this amulet most intriguing, I decided to restore the image with the convenient facilities of a modern day computer. As shown below, the format of the final image is virtually identical with that of the original handwritten Kamea:

[click on the image to see the large version]
(Analysis to follow)