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Since the beginning, cultures around the world have had the desire to posses a tangible and personal form of worship, and these items from the tribal peoples of eastern Africa and northern India reflect that desire.
Ethiopian Coptic Crosses
Ethiopian Christian coverts have been wearing crosses for more than 1600 years. The designs vary widely and indicate the town or province of origin. They are either lost wax cast or cut directly from a Maria Teresa (Marie Antoinette's mother) dollar. That coin has a higher silver content than most. The older the piece, the better the quality of silver. The simpler, plainer designs are the oldest showing Greek, Latin, Egyptian and even Celtic influence. The 19th century designs became much more elaborate due to a ready supply of silver.
To view antique Coptic crosses currently available for purchase in our online store please click here.
Telsum, small silver triangles and half circle shaped amulets, come from Ethiopia. Though these are ancient designs, these pieces were made in the 1800-1900s. Granulated (covered with tiny balls of silver) or plain or sometimes worn smooth, they guard against the primitive fears of the evil eye and crescent moon. Traditionally, they're worn in long necklaces strung on brightly colored yarn that feature a mix of the shapes and their meanings.
The majority of these pendants originate from the northwest Indian provinces of Rajasthan and Gujarat, but they are found throughout the entire subcontinent. Made of stamped coin silver (90%+ silver content), these pieces feature images of Hindu deities including Shiva, Hanuman, Durga, the footsteps of Vishnu and a few others. These pieces were made from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, making the newest pieces about 75 years old.
To view antique Hindu amulet pieces currently available for purchase in our online store please click here.
Coptic Christian Talismans
The differences in color, shape and design make each one of these pieces truly unique.
These antique Coptic Christian amulets/talismans are from the Oromo people of Ethiopia and were worn to protect from evil spirits and bring the wearer good luck. They contain scrolls, usually made of vellum, which were inscribed with prayers or stories from Coptic Christian bibles or manuscripts by priests, religious scribes, or unordained clerics known as 'dabtaras', and then sewn inside their leather pouch. The writing on the scroll is done with special black and red ink and is in Ge'ez, a now unspoken language used for religious purposes. They are sometimes referred to as "kitab", which is the Arabic word for book and which is also used to describe amulets containing Islamic scrolls.
Prices mentioned in Lost Cities' emails, blogs, handouts, websites, etc. are effective the date of publication. They are subject to market conditions and availability and may be modified as necessary at Lost Cities' discretion. Lost Cities Beads 2802 Juan St. #14 San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 692-1114 Monday-Saturday 10am - 6pm Sunday 10am - 5pm Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day Questions, comments? Contact us either by phone during business hours, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright Lost Cities 2009