- Museum number
Amulet, silver, in the form of a square plaque; with eight lines of Hebrew text on each side, with cross hatching below on one side.
- Production date
- 17thC (?)
Height: 3 centimetres
Length: 3.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The inscription refers to the four rivers of the Garden of Eden.
The names of the rivers, Pishon, Gihon, Chidekel and Perat, are named on the first line. These names then snake round in reverse from left to right on the next line, and then again from right to left in a different order on the third line, then in reverse on the fourth, etc, down to the last (eighth) line. The reverse is similar with the same names but the letters are in more complicated anagrams: the letters are the same, simply the same names mixed up. There is a similar example in Schrire, Hebrew Amulets, Pl.44, a circular pendant, although probably later, which is described as an amulet for long life. The latter example also has an initial first line including divine names. This example may originally have had a similar first line, but this is now missing where the top is broken off. According to Schrire, the rivers are said 'to bear the stream of Life out of the Garden of Eden. They appear on amuets very frequently, both in plain writing, when they usually occupy the corners of a rectangular area or in anagrammatic forms, occupying 16 lines. The first eight lines of the inscriptions usually consist of relatively simple anagrams but the second eight lines usually contain more comlex ones'.
E.A. Wallis Budge (/1978), 'Amulets and Superstitions', New York: Dover Publications Inc. (chapters VIII, XXI and XXII)
Joshua Trachtenberg (/2004), 'Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion', Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (chapter 16)
T Schrire (1966), 'Hebrew Amulets: their decipherment and interpretation', London: Routledge and Kegan Paul (chapters 11 & 12)
- On display (G46/dc23)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number