Apotropaic Elements
in Moroccan Pottery Design

The owner of Marrakech Express was showing me the feet of a lamp which he said wasa disguised hamsa design, as it had two prongs like the opposed thumbs seen on many hamsas and chameshes. I replied that I wasn't so sure, as it could also be a plant-style motif. If you look too hard, you can see the image in many places it may not have been meant to be, I contended... for instance, on this pot over here, you could see this design as a three-fingered hamsa, and you could even see this part as the eye in the palm of the... wait a minute...

I am now quite sure that the design of this pot is apotropaic, meant to be the blue-eyed three-fingered hamsa, or Hand of Fatima. We see such three fingered designs on smaller hamsas, such as on the mirror in file mor002 of this series. We may also note that there are three of the designs, alternating with another strange design that looks more occult than decorative. It may be noted that these same decorative patterns are found on the ceramic shoe amulets featured in file mor013. Further, designs on similar pieces of pottery can be seen in files file mor026, file mor027, file mor028 and file mor029. For further elucidation of the symbolism here, see Edward Alexander Westermarck's "The Magic Origin of Moorish Designs," where he discusses the symbolism of five dot crosses and jagged-line borders.


The Marrakech Express Collection

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