PAIR OF WAR AMULETS, ISFAHAN, PERSIA (IRAN), QAJAR ERA, 1850-1900, SILVER WITH ENGRAVED, INCISED AND PUNCHED MOTIFS, EACH 20 x 96 MM (CORDS REPLACED). MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS AND SCIENCES. GIFT OF MRS A. EDGAR, 1970. PHOTO: MARINCO KOJDANOVSKI – TAASA Review September 2021
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This article was originally found in the September 2021 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 30, Issue 3, Page 24).
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It is well-known that at least between the 15th and 19th centuries, Persian elite warriors (jangjou) and legendary war heroes (pahlevan) wore Shiâ€™a war amulets and talismanic headbands (sarband), helmets (kolahkhoud), pendants (sinehaviz), shoulder belts (hamayel), armbands (bazouband) and shirts (pirahaneh telesm) to protect their mortal earthly body from the harms of the infidel enemies (kafer) during battle. The amulets are engraved with different verses from the Holy Qurâ€™an – the sacred book of all Muslims, the 99 names of almighty God (al-asma al-Husna), prayers (doâ€™a), and magical invocations and formulas mostly in praise of Ali ibn-Abitalib (601-661), Imam Ali the first Shiite Imam (Saint) and the 14 immaculate Shiite Saints (chahardah maâ€™soum).
These series of Islamic war sacred objects and Shiâ€™a material religion have been called in general telesm-e jangi (war talismans/war amulets) since the Safavid period (1501-1736).
The magical properties of the inscribed verses from the Holy Qurâ€™an and other Shiâ€™a sacred formulas and related designs, which are different in each amulet, were considered to protect warriors from physical harm during battle. This pair of talismanic circular silver armband war amulets are rare handcrafted objects probably made under the patronage of a Shiâ€™a family by one of the master silver makers (noqrehkar) from the city of Isfahan, known for this genre of metal production since the 15th century. During the Qajar era (1789-1925), many elites and aristocrats had a strong interest in acquiring similar sacred objects and accessories related to the Shiite material religion...