San Antonio Museum or Art

Recent Acquisitions

Amulet
possiby from Iran or India, 19th or early 20th century carnelian, with silver mount and chain
h. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm); w. 2 in. (5.0 cm)
Gift of Anne Wallace in memory of her grandmother Lucile Matthews Brittingham, 2013.19

For centuries devout Muslims have worn intricately inscribed amulets to invoke divine protection and ward off harm. This extraordinary example, carved from carnelian, is the only amulet of its kind in the Museum's collection. Three sets of Arabic inscriptions cover the amulet's surface. In small compartments within the central rectangle are listed sixty-three Names of God, believed to have magical properties. These are surrounded by a prayer invoking divine help in adversity. Floral motifs separate these inscriptions from the longer Qur'an verse that encircles the amulet's perimeter. This text, known as the Throne Verse, praises the omnipotence of God. The verse was frequently inscribed on amulets because of its power.