Childs bracelet of small blue glass beads

Children are among the most vulnerable creatures in the world. As the most precious thing their parents have, they are quick to attract the evil eye. From birth onwards, children are protected by amulets fastened on their clothing, their beds, in their rooms and in their house.

The four Egyptian amulets shown below are called zu’ra ,and have been related to birth and childhood since the beginning of the 20th century. As early as 1910, zu’ra amulets are described in a manuscript dealing with zar-rites, where they are prepared by pregnant women to ensure a succesful delivery. These early zu’ra amulets are probably beaded amulets. The silver examples have been researched in the 1980′s and appeared to have been specifically desginated for either boys or girls. The round shape is meant for girls, while the pear-shaped amulet is meant to protect boys.

The taswira-amulets shown below are from Oman, and are mostly worn by children.

Zur'a amulets, Egypt
Zur'a amulets, Egypt

Silver amulets to protect children, Egypt

Taswirh amulets, Oman
Taswirh amulets, Oman

Silver amulets mainly worn by children, Oman. Photo by De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam

Teeth, horns and wood
Teeth, horns and wood

Omani amulets often worn by children, consisting of teeth, horns, claws, thorns and pieces of wood

Glass beads necklace, Hebron
Glass beads necklace, Hebron

Necklaces of glass beads symbolizing the Eye are often worn by children. Photo by Wellcome Images