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Art of the Day: Friday March 26, 2004

Hamsa

- by Rossanna Nagli

This week's theme: The Human Hand

Four fingers and an opposable thumb. A remarkable, capable combination. Our hands allow us to do so very much. They are both utilitarian and expressive. Hands are beautiful, dexterous; they can create and destroy. They are, inextricably, human.

-Melissa Morton


Art: Hamsa by Artist Rossanna Nagli
In popular use for over fifteen hundred years, the Hamsa (Chamsa), from the Semitic root meaning five, is a representation of the protective hand of God. Hand amulets are common in many cultures as talismans to ward off the evil eye and appropriately many Hamsas have a single eye embedded in the center of the palm to depict Godís watchful presence. This ancient symbol is used as a protective amulet by both Jews and Muslims. It is usually worn around the neck or hung on walls or over doors.

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