Preliminary Observations on Nazarlik:|
Textiles, colors, pattern, language and ornamentation
which ward off the evil eye.
|Nazar - Arabic for 'a glance or look' - which may contain (even
unconsciously) evil thoughts like envy, greed, jealousy and hatred.
Nazarlik - that which repels or misdirects the evil eye.
"Nazarlik are like lightning rods for evil intent. They attract and then
repel the evil eye."
Haci Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak (Effendi) former head of the Helvati-Jerrahi
Dervish Order, Istanbul.
One of the beliefs held in common by all of humanity, regardless of their
time period or their location, is the belief in their interactions with the
'unseen'- both for good or ill.
This belief in "luck," or 'Divine" interaction, seems to be a universal
human character which transcends physical location, education, religion,
wealth, social status, or lack thereof.
The Ancients believed in this power. The Greeks even had a name for it's
application: Apotropaic, meaning having the power to prevent evil or bad
Presently, in 21st century modern and rational America, we have a continuing
unease with the number 13 in hotels, office buildings, and airplane seating.
In addition we avoid black cats, carry a rabbit's foot, knock on wood, wear
religious symbols as jewelry, and hang the upside down horse shoe on a barn
or home to protect the inhabitants within from evil.
Amongst the traditional peoples of the Silk Road this pattern of belief
continues to be a active part of their world-view.
We have all seen the blue beads from the near and middle east. Sometimes
called camel beads, or evil eye beads, they are a traditional part of
indigenous Turkic, and general Islamic culture. Even today, in modern and
westernized Turkey, one can still find remnants of this ancient belief and
those people who send it.
These "Nazar-men" (singular, al-Hasid) are famous throughout Turkish
folklore, and instructions to assist one in warding off their influence are
both religious and social. The evil eye is referenced in the Koran, and in
the Hadith (sayings of Muhammad).
Within Turkic society, colors, symbols, pattern and design are used to ward
away malefic intent. Even the most westernized Turks may have a small blue
bead pinned under their suit collar, and most still carry their tasbih or
prayer beads (for prayer and for good luck). This is especially true for
small children. Even a 'modern' Turkish mother will pin a blue bead on her
child's clothing. Just in case..
Other societies within modern Turkey (like the Kurds, the Alawites and
Yezdis) view colors and patterns in much the same manner.
Even the non Islamic Turks (the Jews and Christians) conform to this social
usage of Nazarlik.
The color blue is held to be highly auspicious. One finds the evil eye or
camel beads are blue. The color blue not only represents the sky (that
which is closest to God) but also the color of the peacock, which to the
Yezdis is the creature favored by God's favorite angel - Shaitan.
Yet another explanation is that when the dye indigo was introduced, its
instant and astounding transformation from yellow to blue was so awe
inspiring that the color blue assumed magical properties. (This occurrence
is natural, and is the result of the dyed materials exposure to oxygen when
it emerges from the dye pot.)
Kurdish belief holds that evil does not like pink, orange and other very
bright colors. Often one can observe Kurdish homes and doorways painted
these very bright colors, as well as their long distance trucks. In fact
Kurdish weavings usually feature some pinks, and oranges - sometimes the
fringe is brightly dyed.
Continued on page 2
We've been outfitting caravans |
from Downtown Charlottesville since 1978.