Bizantine-paleochristian incantation terracotta bowls with Aramean writings, 5th-8th century A.D.

The enchantment or enchantment bowls are curious pieces, which although they were made in series, are difficult to see in a museum. They are structurally very simple pieces, made on a mould, in the shape of a bowl. They were made in the late Middle East, especially in Babylon and before the Arab invasion. They were common to the jewish and christian religions, but also to the pagan religions. The eagerness of these peoples to protect their homes and families led them to apotropic conceptions such as these. These bowls were inscribed with curses in Hebrew and Aramaic, usually making a continuous spiral, which helped to capture evil spirits. The bowls were always to be deposited downwards, usually in the corners of the rooms, which is where they understood that the demons were slipping into the home, so that they would be trapped by the labyrinthine curses and locked downwards. Egg shells were magically used to poison spirits as fire produced life and the shell killed it. They are truly unique and magical pieces that show us all the strength of the pagan religious beliefs extended to monotheisms.


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