7 November 2013

Hand-shaped door knockers

Much of the beauty one finds in Tunisia is in the detail.  It pays to be observant.  Some of the doors I photographed had hand-shaped door knockers. In the Middle East and North Africa the image of the hand is a powerful amulet and symbolizes protection against evil and other dangers.  When it is used as a door knocker it is meant to protect the house and those within it and also ward off evil spirits. 

According to Wikipedia, "the symbol predates Christianity and Islam. In Islam, it is also known as the hand of Fatima, so named to commemorate the prophet Muhammad's daughter Fatima Zahra. Levantine Christians call it the hand of Mary, for the Virgin Mary. Jews refer to it as the hand of Miriam in remembrance of the biblical Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron.

If you look closely, you can see a pair of hands inside the crescents above each of the door knockers.

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