Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/170

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The Cimaruta:

5. Flower.

The flowers which occur in cimarute fall into two groups: firstly, there are the flowers with few (four or five) petals, which recall the flowers of the rue (Figs, 19, 23); and, secondly, there are the flowers which have more numerous petals, which we shall term moon-flowers (Figs. 24, 27a),

The rue-flowers are sometimes represented as growing naturally at the ends of the twigs, and each is then formed from a separate sheet of silver, beaten into the shape of a bell and fixed to the twig (similarly the knobs in which the branches end may be considered as the flower buds or seed capsules of the rue), but often the workman by moulding the cimaruta from one piece of silver has displayed the flower flatly, so that it presents the appearance of having been clumsily stuck on by one petal (Plate XVI., Fig. 23D).

The flowers are sometimes independent of the sprig, and are then supported by one of the other constituents of the charm. A common example of this is the flower held in the clenched fist, a combination often to be met with as a separate amulet. This charm is seen in its greatest perfection in the silver spadini worn by Sorrentine women in their hair. The flowers have four petals.[1] There is no absolute proof that these bodkin-flowers are related to the flowers on the cimaruta; there may be cruciferous flowers which resembled the periwinkle or violette des sorciers, in that they may once have been used in the manufacture of amulets. But, bearing in mind the fact that this particular type of charm is especially worn by women, a more probable explanation is that the flower is either beneficial to the fair sex or else is the emblem of something that

  1. One specimen examined had evidently been slightly damaged, and so, apparently with the intention of concealing the injury, the silversmith had bent and engraved the four petals so that the mutilated one might form the head of a bird, the three undamaged petals forming the wings outstretched and the tail (Fig. 2. iii.). For a photograph of an entire spadino, see Italian Jewellery collected by Signor Castellani, Pl. 10, published by the Arundel Society, 1868.