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1. Detail of Antep Kurdish kilim with Sha Miram from S.E. Anatolia.
2. Hakkari Kurdish kilim, S.E. Anatolia
2A. "Byzant" cradle cover, Bursa, Western Anatolia, 1978. "Byzant" refers to the Byzantine people who converted to Islam after the conquest in the 14Th & 15TH CENTURIES.
2B. Deatail of "Byzant" cradle cover, western Anatolia
2C. Detail of "Byzant cradle cover. This example of their baby cradle covers is significent because it shows the cross - right end - as a nazarlik.

Part I

Nazarlik as a Pre-Islamic Residue

Saul said (and this is likely true for much of the Middle East generally) that the belief in the "evil eye" and in "nazarlik" likely belongs to pre-Islamic eras when shamanistic beliefs were predominant.

Conversion to Islam has not, seemingly, led to the shedding of some pre-Islamic beliefs. Islam is experienced as a kind of firm overlay, but previous beliefs still operate strongly without any experience of contradiction.

He said that in Konya, a highly religious and conservative area of central Anatolia, the locals find no apparent contraction between their formal Islam and their usage of a symbol from pre-Islamic, shamanistic times for example — the Sha Miram, the Queen Goddess of the Snake.

If locals are queried about this seeming contradiction, they merely state, "She is a nazarlik."

Saul had two pieces with a "Sha Miran" field design (Pic. 1)

Saul sketched beliefs and behavior he has observed regarding nazarliks in Turkey and Central Asia. He said that while we might smile at examples of such belief in traditional societies, we need also to remember that even in the “modern and rational America of 2010, 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 an upside down horseshoe on a barn or home to protect the inhabitants from evil." The similar superstitions actively practiced in our own society could be multiplied. Saul began with the general observation that "within Turkic society colors, symbols, pattern and design are used to ward away malefic intent, and call forth beneficent interactions. Other societies within modern Turkey (like the Kurds (Pic. 2), the Alawites and the Yezdis) view colors and patterns in the same way. Even non-Islamic Turks (the Jews and Christians) conform to the social usage of nazarlik.

Next Saul showed a piece of a cradle cover(pic.2A).

Fashioned from four narrow strips sewn together (pic.2B).

Saul described this piece as "Byzant" from Western Anatolia - a baby cradle cover from the converted peoples, who use the cross design as a form of protection. The small cross at the bottom is difficult to see. Right below Saul's hand (pic. 2C).

Part 2: The Ubiquitous "Blue Bead"
   We've been outfitting caravans
from Downtown Charlottesville since 1978.
   Sun Bow Trading Company
110 W South Street
Charlottesville, Va 22902

Right off the Mall
The South Street Bed & Breakfast
The South Street Brewery
Directly behind
The Farmers' Market
  Open Monday through Saturday
11:00 - 6:00
Awaiting the Pleasure of Your Visit
Traditional Tea Served