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mojo hand?/Cat

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  • Barry Carroll
    Cat-- i wonder if you have any comment on the following material .............. . This is from Before Freedom Came -- African-American Life in the Antebellum
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 21, 2002
      Cat--
      i wonder if you have any comment
      on the following material ..............
      .
      This is from
      Before Freedom Came --
      African-American Life in
      the Antebellum South
      published by the Museum of the Confederacy
      and the University of Virginia Press 1991

      The last chapter in the book is
      The Archeology of Slave Life
      by Theresa A Singleton


      The author is quoted re the
      picture in the attachment:

      "Two charms recovered from slave cabins at the Hermitage,
      the plantation home of Andrew jackson outside Nashville,
      Tennesse, may be akin to the charms used by slaves in both
      the antebellum South and Latin America. Altho stylistically
      different, both charms made of stamped brass or another
      copper alloy depict the same image-- a clenched human hand.
      The image is belived to be quite similar to certain Latin American
      amulets or 'figas' associated with African-oriented spiritualist
      cults and in widespread use since at least the mid-1800's.
      The charm may also be what was refered to as a "hand" to
      "keep witches away".

      An ex-slave in Florida recollected that an

      Old witch doctor, he want ten dollars for
      a piece of string what he say some kind
      of charm words over...I didn't have no ten
      dollars, so he say if I get up five dollars he
      make me a hand--you know, what colored
      folk call a jack. That's a charm what will keep
      the witches away. I know how to make 'em,
      but they don't do no good thout the magic
      words, and I don't know 'em. "

      Then the author describes "an assemblage" of artifacts recovered by
      archeologist's
      team from a known healer's cabin in the slave quarters of The Jordan
      Plantation
      at Brazoria, Texas SW of Houston, a place that was occupied by slaves and
      former
      slaves from 1848 to 1890.
      She comments on how African-Americans re-worked mass-produced or
      found objects to achieve a special meaning of their own.
      She continues re blue beads.

      "Colored glass beads, particularly blue beads found in slave sites from
      Virginia to
      Texas prvide another example of slaves reinterpretation of mass produced
      objects
      to meet their own cultural uses. William H Adams archeologist at Oregon
      State Univ.
      has recently suggested that the predominance of blue beads in the
      antebellum South
      may well be a vestige of the widespread belief in the Muslim world,
      including many
      parts of Africa, that a single blue bead worn or sewn on clothing protected
      the
      bearer from the "evil eye". Blue beads in fact comprise as much as a third
      of all the
      beads found at slave sites."

      Other unusual items recovered in excavations included "the smooth and
      polished
      penis bone of a racoon unearthed at Mount Vernon. An incised line encircles
      one
      end of the bone, suggesting tht the object was worn suspended from a string
      or
      thin chain. The type of bone suggests its use as a fertility symbol"

      OK
      So --- any comment on the author's conflation of the idea of the hand on
      the brass with 'hands' consisting of an 'assemblage' of magical
      ingredients in a bag used as a charm for a particular purpose?
      Is there reference to the image of the hand thwarting witches in Pow-Wows?
      Have you heard of a 'hand' being called a 'jack' ?
      Perhaps between hoodoo and old blues records this has come up somewhere
      before?

      Last, have you ever heard that theory about the blue beads and vestigial
      Islamic folk magic? Didn't I see blue beads offered in the catalog on the
      same page as the bat pods?

      Anyway---
      I will send you the book this came out of soon.
      You may find more of interest in it..
      I got it at a yard sale.
      Maybe it was a text for a UT course.
      Did you ever recover the book about coded quilt patterns
      and the underground railroad?

      Good luck with your herb book project.
      Please let us all know when it's gonna come out.

      B
    • Tracey McTague
      the blue beads are an abstract reference to eyes, the more literal representational malochia protection of a blue-glass eye. Cat has some wonderful
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 21, 2002
        the blue beads are an abstract reference to eyes, the more literal
        representational malochia protection of a blue-glass eye. Cat has some
        wonderful information on the history of this on her site. I bought many such
        artifacts in Northern Africa, as well as in Crete. An old grandmother in
        Athens once told me that I should be careful of staring at people, since
        having light colored eyes, I have a tendency to give the evil eye without
        even knowing it.

        > From: Barry Carroll <palladin@...>
        > Reply-To: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 09:33:34 -0600
        > To: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [sl] mojo hand?/Cat
        >
        > Cat--
        > i wonder if you have any comment
        > on the following material ..............
        > .
        > This is from
        > Before Freedom Came --
        > African-American Life in
        > the Antebellum South
        > published by the Museum of the Confederacy
        > and the University of Virginia Press 1991
        >
        > The last chapter in the book is
        > The Archeology of Slave Life
        > by Theresa A Singleton
        >
        >
        > The author is quoted re the
        > picture in the attachment:
        >
        > "Two charms recovered from slave cabins at the Hermitage,
        > the plantation home of Andrew jackson outside Nashville,
        > Tennesse, may be akin to the charms used by slaves in both
        > the antebellum South and Latin America. Altho stylistically
        > different, both charms made of stamped brass or another
        > copper alloy depict the same image-- a clenched human hand.
        > The image is belived to be quite similar to certain Latin American
        > amulets or 'figas' associated with African-oriented spiritualist
        > cults and in widespread use since at least the mid-1800's.
        > The charm may also be what was refered to as a "hand" to
        > "keep witches away".
        >
        > An ex-slave in Florida recollected that an
        >
        > Old witch doctor, he want ten dollars for
        > a piece of string what he say some kind
        > of charm words over...I didn't have no ten
        > dollars, so he say if I get up five dollars he
        > make me a hand--you know, what colored
        > folk call a jack. That's a charm what will keep
        > the witches away. I know how to make 'em,
        > but they don't do no good thout the magic
        > words, and I don't know 'em. "
        >
        > Then the author describes "an assemblage" of artifacts recovered by
        > archeologist's
        > team from a known healer's cabin in the slave quarters of The Jordan
        > Plantation
        > at Brazoria, Texas SW of Houston, a place that was occupied by slaves and
        > former
        > slaves from 1848 to 1890.
        > She comments on how African-Americans re-worked mass-produced or
        > found objects to achieve a special meaning of their own.
        > She continues re blue beads.
        >
        > "Colored glass beads, particularly blue beads found in slave sites from
        > Virginia to
        > Texas prvide another example of slaves reinterpretation of mass produced
        > objects
        > to meet their own cultural uses. William H Adams archeologist at Oregon
        > State Univ.
        > has recently suggested that the predominance of blue beads in the
        > antebellum South
        > may well be a vestige of the widespread belief in the Muslim world,
        > including many
        > parts of Africa, that a single blue bead worn or sewn on clothing protected
        > the
        > bearer from the "evil eye". Blue beads in fact comprise as much as a third
        > of all the
        > beads found at slave sites."
        >
        > Other unusual items recovered in excavations included "the smooth and
        > polished
        > penis bone of a racoon unearthed at Mount Vernon. An incised line encircles
        > one
        > end of the bone, suggesting tht the object was worn suspended from a string
        > or
        > thin chain. The type of bone suggests its use as a fertility symbol"
        >
        > OK
        > So --- any comment on the author's conflation of the idea of the hand on
        > the brass with 'hands' consisting of an 'assemblage' of magical
        > ingredients in a bag used as a charm for a particular purpose?
        > Is there reference to the image of the hand thwarting witches in Pow-Wows?
        > Have you heard of a 'hand' being called a 'jack' ?
        > Perhaps between hoodoo and old blues records this has come up somewhere
        > before?
        >
        > Last, have you ever heard that theory about the blue beads and vestigial
        > Islamic folk magic? Didn't I see blue beads offered in the catalog on the
        > same page as the bat pods?
        >
        > Anyway---
        > I will send you the book this came out of soon.
        > You may find more of interest in it..
        > I got it at a yard sale.
        > Maybe it was a text for a UT course.
        > Did you ever recover the book about coded quilt patterns
        > and the underground railroad?
        >
        > Good luck with your herb book project.
        > Please let us all know when it's gonna come out.
        >
        > B
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >
        >
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