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  • Place of origin:

    Cordoba (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast silver with silver wire and silver bells

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Amulets were worn by men, women and children throughout southern Europe in the 19th century. Before the development of modern medicine, fevers, cramps and toothache could be painful and dangerous. Childbirth could kill mother or child. Many people believed that the supernatural powers embodied in an amulet could promote fertility and good health and offer protection against malign forces or the ‘evil eye’. Although the Catholic Church was opposed to the pagan nature of many amulets, it was powerless to prevent their use.

Amulets in the form of a mermaid, or sirena in Spanish, had been used in Spain since the 17th century. This particular form, with the mermaid blowing a trumpet, was mainly used by women and children as a protection against the evil eye. The noise of the bells hanging along the lower edge would similarly help to frighten off any evil spirits.

It was bought for the museum by Senor Riano for three shillings and four pence in Cordoba in 1871.

Physical description

Silver pendant, consisting of a flat cast siren, with wings and a long coiled tail, blowing a trumpet, which hangs by two short lengths of loop-in-loop chain from a silver ring. Three bells hang from the lower edge of the siren.

Place of Origin

Cordoba (made)


1750-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cast silver with silver wire and silver bells


Length: 8.3 cm, Width: 5.6 cm, Depth: 1.5 cm

Descriptive line

Silver amulet for a child (sonajero), shaped like a winged siren with bells, Cordoba (Spain), 1750-1850.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

For a similar example see:
'Catalogo de Amuletos del Museo de Pueblo Espanol', Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1987, no. 1,686, p. 50 & 10,109, p.100





Subjects depicted



Jewellery; Metalwork; Amulets


Metalwork Collection

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