Manofica coral gesture set in silver

1850-1920 in Verona

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Group shot of: A665906 Amuletic pendant, with manofica of coral, set in silver mount with suspension loop, De Mortillet
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Amuletic pendant, with manofica of coral, set in silver mount with suspension loop, De Mortillet collection, Verona, Italy, 1850-1920

Hung around on a necklace, the coral arm and hand is shown displaying a fig or mano fica gesture with the thumb in between the index and second finger. The gesture was used to ward off the evil eye – the widespread belief that some people can cause harm to others simply by looking at them in a certain way. This ‘look’ may be given deliberately, in an attempt to cause harm, or accidentally, perhaps because of feelings of envy. The harm may take the form of bad luck, illness or death. Fig or mano fica gestures were common from the medieval period and were also used to convey obscenities and cause offence. The amulet is pictured here with similar metal (A665908) and bone (A665892) examples.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
coral and silver, ? material
pendant folk medicine (protection), amulet, folk medicine (protection), manofica and pendant
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume
  • jewellery
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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