What is a "Hamsa"?
Hamsa (חַמְסָה) is a symbol, or an amulet in the shape of a hand. It is recognized as a symbol of God’s protection against the evil eye (ayin ha-rah) – hence there is often a shape of an eye in the middle of it. It’s a popular amulet across the Middle East and the Maghreb and can be seen used in decorations and jewelry. It also sometimes called the Hand of Fatima, the Hand of Mary or the Hand of Miriam.
Its use can be traced to ancient times, where it could have been used as an amulet protecting pregnant women and boosting fertility, and as a protection from the goddess Ishtar.
In Jewish tradition, the symbolism of hamsa relates to God’s protective hand. It could be seen in many kabbalistic manuscripts and was especially popular symbol among the Jews of medieval Spain. Hamsa as a Jewish symbol is usually portrayed having symmetrical thumbs, while among the Muslims, it is closer to an image of an actual palm.
Fingers up or down?
You will notice that sometimes hamsa is shown with its fingers pointing up, and sometimes down. Is there are any meaning attached to either position?
The opinions vary. But generally, it is believed, that when the fingers point up, the hand becomes like a stop sign, blocking evil and all kind of bad energy. When it points down, it is to channel mazal (good luck) and happiness to the person who wears it. The open palm might allude to God opening hands and supporting all living beings, as it is expressed in the words of the Psalmist: pote’ach et yadechah u-masbiyah lechol chay ratzon – “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest every living thing with favor”.
Who is the Hamsa for?
everyone, really. It’s a great motif to decorate one’s home in the form of wall art, small tchotchkes or bedding. It is a great idea for a gift for men and women, young and old. Everyone needs a big of protection and good luck, right?
In my store you will find options for yourself and your loved ones, on a budget and for a big occasion. Jewelry, totes, tees, metal wall art, blankets, pillows, clockes, notebooks, coffee mugs, and dozens upon dozens of other things. As I love watercolor, my hamsas are made with watercolor flowers and plants, as well as watercolor splashes. Have you found the one you love?
If you would like to customize any of the designs by adding a name or changing background – contact me!
See all the amazing Hamsa products at the following stores: