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Nazars (charms against the evil eye) sold in a shop in Quincy Market, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Note the various modifications to the simple traditional form, such as setting the nazar into butterflies or Christian imagery.

A nazar (from Arabicنظر‎, meaning sight, surveillance, attention, and other related concepts) is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye. Hindi, Urdu and Persian have borrowed the term as well.[1] In Turkey, it is known by the indigenous name nazar boncuğu (the latter word being a derivative of boncuk, "bead") and historically as mâvi boncuk or Old Turkic: gökçe munçuk, both meaning "blue bead"[2]. In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called a cheshm nazar (Persian: چشم نظر‎‎) or nazar ghorboni (Persian: نظرقربونی‎‎).[3] In India and Pakistan, the Hindi-Urdu slogan Chashm-e-Baddoor is used to ward off the evil eye.[4]

In such cultures, it is believed that if a person is complimented a lot, they will be jinxed and often sick the next day unless a verse of the Quran is recited.

Contents

AmuletEdit

A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge.[5]

As a legacy of the Turkish Ottoman Empire,[dubious ] it is a common sight in Turkey, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Armenia, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Azerbaijan,[6][dubious ] where the nazar is often hung in homes, offices, cars, children's clothing, or incorporated in jewellery and ornaments.[5] They are a popular choice of souvenir with tourists.

Eye beadEdit

 
eye beads

The Turkish boncuk (sometimes called a göz boncuğu 'eye bead') is a glass bead characterized by a blue glass field with a blue or black dot superimposed on a white or yellow center. Historically old, the blue bead has gained importance as an item of popular culture in Modern Turkey. The bead probably originated in the Mediterranean and is associated with the development of glass making. Written documents and extant beads date as early as the 16th century BC. Glass beads were made and widely used throughout the ancient world: from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Phoenicia to Persia, and throughout the Roman imperial period.

The eye bead is a kind of glass art based on nazar in Turkey. This art has changed very little for thousands of years. The 3,000-year-old antique Mediterranean glass art lives in these eye bead furnaces with its every detail.

The roots of the very few glass evil eye bead masters that still practice this tradition go back to the Arabian artisans who settled in Izmir and its towns during the decline of the Ottoman Empire by the end of the 19th century. The glass art that had lost its glamour in Anatolia, combined with the eye sign, was enlivened. The masters who practised their arts at Araphan and Kemeraltı districts of Izmir were exiled due to the disturbance of the smoke from their furnace and risk of fire in the neighbourhood.

Other uses and popular cultureEdit

 
The nazar boncuğu symbol on a Fly Air airplane, Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul, Turkey.

The nazar image was used as a symbol on the tailfins of aeroplanes belonging to the private Turkish airline Fly Air.

It is used in the logo for CryEngine 3, a game engine designed by Crytek, a video game company founded by three Turkish brothers (Cevat, Avni and Faruk Yerli).

It was also used in the logo of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup events.

The video game Terraria (2011) has an accessory item called "Nazar" which grants immunity to the "Cursed debuff", referencing how a "Nazar" is used to prevent the wearer from curses and bad Luck.

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Khan, Abdul Jamil (2006). Urdu/Hindi: An Artificial Divide: African Heritage, Mesopotamian Roots, Indian Culture & British Colonialism (in Enlish). Algora Publishing. p. 138. ISBN 9780875864389. Arabic verbs have generated an enormous number of words for Urdu/Hindi as well as Persian. ... The word nazar, meaning eye, or sight, is part of the cultural idiom -- <nazar lag jana>, meaning "evil eye's effect," and is used in the whole subcontinent. 
  2. ^ There is uncertainty about the spelling. Moncuk, monçug, muncug, monsak, and similar variations have all been seen.
  3. ^ M.Moin: A Persian Dictionary, 3rd edition, p. 4752 (in Persian).
  4. ^ South Asian Cinema, Volume 1, Issue 1. South Asian Cinema Foundation. 2001. p. 61. 
  5. ^ a b Lonely Planet Middle East.Lonely Planet; 6 edition, 2009, p. 559.
  6. ^ Stoltz, Dustin (May 26, 2012). "The Evil Eye and Mountain Karma in Azerbaijan". www.dustinstoltz.com. 

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