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Bell and Buttons


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 gain their power to protect from harm, or to attract good fortune, from their colour, pattern or material. Noise was believed to frighten away evil spirits, so bells were often included in amulets for children. This bell was fastened to the clothing or cot of a young child.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Buttons
  • Buttons
  • Bell
Brief Description
Silver bell, Spain, 1800-1899, and three separate silver buttons, Russia, 1600-1699.
Summary
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 gain their power to protect from harm, or to attract good fortune, from their colour, pattern or material. Noise was believed to frighten away evil spirits, so bells were often included in amulets for children. This bell was fastened to the clothing or cot of a young child.

Collection
Accession Number
M.514&PART-1924

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record createdJune 24, 2009
Record URL