Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/169

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

Its Structure and Development. 143

The key of the cimaruta is now of the modern type. Its form seems to have been derived from that of the beautiful and ornate keys of the cinquecento. When keys are worn as simple amulets the bows are more elaborately worked than those of the keys in the cimarute ; they may be wrought to the design of scrollwork, or be drilled with one, three, or four perforations ; and in especially ornate examples I have seen the two-headed eagle (PI. XIV.). Crossed keys, evidently suggested by the keys of St. Peter, are occasionally worn as a charm. When in combination with the cimaruta, the bow of the key is generally trefoil- shaped, but I cannot accept Mr. Elworthy's theory that the handle of the key was intended to symbolize a heart. He may have been misled by an illustration (PL XII.) in which the artist has drawn this part more like a heart than the original warranted, for there is no more reason to think a heart was intended than that Diana Triformis was especially symbolized by the trilobed perforation of the bow. The shape is only the outcome of a striving after beauty of form.

Whether or not the key is a " conventionalized repre- sentation of the crux a)isata" (Elworthy, p. 353), which was used as a charm in ancient Egypt and in modern Cyprus, I am unable to say ; but there is no doubt that the key was the proper attribute of Jana,^ the form in which Diana opened and closed the gates of night, and thus finds an appropriate place with the rue - and the crescent. Mr, Rolfe has also drawn attention to the so-called key which was found in the hand of Isis, discovered at Pompeii ; but is it not possible that this may really have been a sistrum, or some other object, which was the real prototype of the " key " of the cimaruta .

^ Mr. Elworthy points out that the Neapolitan word for witch hjanara.

"^ In this connection it will be remembered that certain moon-plants, such as the Moonwort Fern {Botrychium lunaria), like the Mistletoe and the Artemisia, are, like the Schlussel-bluine (or Primrose), plants which have the power of opening locks.