SchoolArts Magazine

DEC 2008

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Middle: Ex-votos from Mexico, Girard Collection, Museum of International Folk Art (DCA) Santa Fe, NM. A. 1981.42.694V.1. Photo by Paul Smutko. Above: Milagros from Mexico, Girard Collection, Museum of International Folk Art DCA) Santa Fe, NM. A. 1981.42.672V.1. Photo by Paul Smutko. The hand form is called a khamsa in Arabic and a hamez in Hebrew. The number five is associated with the hand form and it can represent the hand of Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed, the five pillars of Islam, the five daily prayers of the Muslim world, or the prophet Mohammed and his family. For Moroccan Berbers, the hand symbolizes human creativity, protection, power, and force. When an eye appears on the hand form, it adds the additional protection from the evil eye or envy. Vocabulary West Africa Amulets and talismans in West African countries are used for healing, protection, and problem-solving. They often include esoteric writing and the sacred verses are worn in small leather pouches that are placed around the neck, upper arm, or waist. Specific colors are used in conjunction with the mystical powers with which they are associated. Abstract designs and special arrangements of numbers are also used, creating mystical maps to the divine. mystical—having a spiritual meaning or reality Aurelia Gomez is the director of education at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. aurelia.gomez@state.nm.us Web liNk amulet—a charm used to protect the wearerfromevil charm—something worn about the persontowardoffevil ex-voto—anoffering khamsa—acharmintheformofahand luck—aforcethatbringsgoodfortune milagro—miracle protection—being shielded or covered fromexposure saint—apersonrecognizedforbeing holy symbol—somethingthatstandsfor something else; an object having cultural significance talisman—an object used to bring good luckandpreventmisfortune Gotoschoolartsonline.comfor alessonplanonhowtomake anamuletnecklace. www.internationalfolkart.org schoolartsonline.com 43

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