Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/166

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142 The Cimaruta :

been followed by Mr. Elworthy {Evil Eye, p. 345), in look- ing on the crescent moon as entwined by a serpent, one of whose coils forms the suspension-loop. Now, although I have carefully examined several cimarute of the type figured, including Mr. Rolfe's specimens, from which the drawing in question (PI. XIL) is believed to have been prepared, I have not been able to detect the serpent nor to convince myself of the existence of anything but the thickened rim of the moon-emblem and of its loop for suspension.

On first thoughts it would seem that the close associ- ation of antagonistic emblems (such as the moon and the serpent undoubtedly are), in one amulet, might detract from the power of the whole against evil, but that that view has not always been held is clear from the appear- ance of both serpent and lunar emblems in cimarute of a somewhat rare type, but even then they are not in close association.

In a particular series of charms (Figs. 12-15) we find that the lateral rue twigs have been curved and bent round so as to enclose the central portion of the charm in a manner that is very suggestive of the crescent emblem, and we are inclined to think that the silver-worker when executing these amulets was influenced by the idea of the horned moon being an essential part of the cimaruta.

Archaeological evidence, I imagine, would show that the clenched fist and the crescent are the oldest of all the cimaruta emblems, and that the downcast form of crescent is more ancient than the upright form.

4. Key.

In most cimarute a key is placed near the moon. This emblem, like the crescent, can boast a considerable anti- quity, for it was used as an amulet by the Etruscans, witness the finger-rings with tiny key-charms in the Bologna Museum (Elworthy).