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

Enchantment or charming bowls are curious pieces that, 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, although also to the pagan ones. The eagerness of these peoples to protect their homes and families led them to apotrophic conceptions such as these. These bowls were inscribed with curses in Hebrew and Aramaic, normally making a continuous spiral, which helped to capture the evil spirits. The bowls were always to be placed downwards, normally in the corners of the rooms, which is where they understood that the demons would sneak into the home, so that they would be trapped by the labyrinthine curses and locked downwards. The eggshells were magically used to poison the spirits as the egg produced life and the shell killed it. They are really unique and magical pieces that show us all the strength of the pagan religious beliefs extended to monotheisms.


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