Apotropaic

DEFINITION

Greek for "turning away," refers to objects designed to ward off evil, as a good luck charm, amulet, or talisman is intended to avert ill fortune. In cultures as varied as those of ancient Greece and contemporary Tibet, apotropaics have usually been employed to work against the "evil eye," and are often themselves images of eyes.An example: Greek, Attic, Black-Figure Eye Cup with Ships, Archaic, c. 530 BCE, terra cotta, Carlos Collection of Ancient Greek Art. The eyes serve an apotropaic purpose, warding away evil influences. See anthropomorphism and vessel.Also see ex voto, fetish, sight, and votive.

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