Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/164

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


140 The Cimaruta:

emblems have properties similar to those of the rue, and in examples of degenerate cimarute the rue may dwindle and be almost entirely replaced by the added emblems.

2. Hand.

Although hands clenched in varied attitudes are often worn as simple amulets, yet the manofica, or fist clenched with the thumb doubled under and projecting between the knuckles of the index and second fingers, is the only form met with in combination with the cimaruta ; and I believe it to have been one of the first amulets added to the rue.

Mr. Elworthy has collected many instances from different times and countries which show that as a charm against the evil eye this clenched fist is operative chiefly on account of its being regarded as one of the most insulting gestures it is possible to make. The ma?iofica is usually affixed to the very extremity of the cimaruta, where its rude strength may receive the full brunt of the attack of evil and speedily avert it. Mr. Elworthy regards the knobs at the tip of every twig of the rue spray as indicating this powerful emblem, but it seems more likely that they are, as we have already pointed out, simply the buds or fruits of the rue.

Clenched fists are extensively used in combination with one or more of the other amulets. We find it combined with the moon, with the key (PI. XIV., Fig. 4. i.), and with a flower (Fig. 2. iii.), and the latter combination is the one which is used in the peculiar bodkins the Sorrentine women wear in their hair (p. 144).

As a simple talisman, a hand with extended first and fourth fingers occurs both by itself and in combination with the flower or other emblem, but not with the sprig of rue. It may be taken to possess the same properties as a pair of horns or a two-horned crescent.