Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/183

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Its Structure and Development. 155

tical emblems and symbols which we find in different countries and in different times, that renders the study of charms at once so difficult and so fascinating. The crescentic face-plates on our dray-horses are now merely a smart ornament, the treasured belongings of the carters, who take a pride in keeping them brightly burnished, and transfer them from horse to horse ; but in Southern Italy essentially similar pendant charms avert the Evil Eye, keep beasts from stumbling, and must be hanging on the animals when they are blessed by the priest on the day of St. Anthony (January 17th). Two thousand years previously the Campanian peasant would have seen in them the symbol of Diana, protectress of animals, earlier still the Egyptian would have perceived the emblem of Isis.

Lastly, let me remark that I am unaware of any reference to the cimaruta before 1888. It may seem extraordinary that a charm so much worn in Naples should have escaped the attention of the earlier writers on Neapolitan manners and customs, but it must always be borne in mind that the wearers are nowadays, and probably always were, principally to be found among the lower classes, and, consequently, the unobservant of the upper class have either failed to notice it altogether or have considered it beneath their attention. Indeed, persons of some pretence to antiquarian reputation have denied the existence of these charms or have hinted that they are only roba Americana, made to be sold to tourists and curio-hunters.

It is to Mr. Neville Rolfe, the first to write on the matter, that I am much indebted, as the many references to his unique collection will show. Acknowledgements are also due to Mr. H. M. Bower, to my friend Mr. Whitnall, and to others who have allowed me to examine the amulets in their possession.