Fig-Hand and Horned-Hand Amulets

In “The Hildburgh Collection of Austrian and Bavarian Amulets in the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum” (Ellen Ettlinger, Folklore, 76.2 [Summer, 1965]: 104-117), I found an interesting tidbit about fig-hand amulets. I had seen them before in the Wellcome Collection and in other places, but the significance of the “fig” gesticulation has been only vaguely commented on in much art history (and Wikipedia), mostly as a “vulgar gesture.” 


Kunstgewerbe Museum, c. 1500, German

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 9.35.35 PM

The horned-hand (i.e. what you make at a metal show) is also an interestingly old gesture meant to ward off the evil eye. 1985.52.2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.