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Dear friends and family,

On January 16, 2010, Saul gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program, at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. on the topic:

Nazarlik: Small pieces as a window into the consciousness of tribal peoples from the Silk Road.

Saul's talk was documented by R. John Howe as part of his ongoing program:

R. John Howe: Textiles and Text

Virtual Versions of Textile Museum "Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning" Programs

The entire talk with over 150 supporting images can be viewed on his blog at

Our thanks to John Howe for recording Saul's talk and for his efforts in promoting the awareness and appreciation of the rug and textile cultural community.

Below is the content of Saul's talk accompanied by highlights of the photographs taken during his presentation. It varies slightly from John Howe's text in order to accomodate the format of this website


Nazarlik: Devices of Protection & Good Luck

The term "nazarlik" in Saul's program title may need a word or two of explanation.

Saul began by indicating that one belief held by nearly all humanity throughout human history is that their interactions with the "unseen" can produce good or evil results. He said that "This belief in "luck" or "Divine" interaction seems to be a universal human characteristic that transcends physical location, education, religion, wealth, social status or lack thereof."

The ancient Greeks believed in this power. They even had a name for its application: "Apotropaic" meaning having the power to prevent, to ward off, evil or bad luck. (You can occasionally encounter use of this word in more rarefied levels of conversation in the rug world.)

Saul said that while he is most familiar with the belief in the unseen worlds in Turkey, the phenomenon of worrying about evil and of taking personal steps to deal with it, is spread along the length of the Silk Road.

"Nazar, Saul said, is an Arabic word for "a glance or look" which may contain (even unconsciously) evil thoughts like envy, greed, jealously and hatred. "Nazarlik" are devices that operate like lightning rods repelling and/or misdirecting the "evil eye."

And this is what Saul's program was about.

He had the front board in the Myers Room covered (more than one layer) with amulets, nazaliks, fertility, and good luck pieces. And he led us through an array of examples he had brought.

Part 1: Nazarlik as a Pre-Islamic Residue
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