A Nazar (a word deriving from Arabic, meaning sight, surveillance, attention, and other related concepts) is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye. Albanian, Urdu, Pashtun, Bengali, Kurdish, Persian, Punjabi, and other languages have borrowed the term as well.

In Turkey, it is known by the name Nazar boncuğu (the latter word being a derivative of boncuk, “bead”, and the former borrowed from Arabic) and historically as mâvi boncuk or Old Turkic: gökçe munçuk‎, both meaning “blue bead“.

In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called a Cheshm Nazar or Nazar Qurbāni. In Pakistan, the slogan Chashm-e-Baddoor is used to ward off the evil eye.

In such cultures, it is believed that if a person is complimented a lot, the evil eye will cause them to be sick the next day unless a phrase such as “With the will of God” (“MashAllah” in Arabic) is said.

In South Asia, when a mother observes that her child is being excessively complimented, it is common for them to attempt to neutralize the effects of the evil eye (Nazar Utarna) by holding red chilies in one hand and circling the child’s head a few times, then burning the chilies.

Amulet

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.

It is a common sight in Turkey, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Morocco and Tunisia where the Nazar is often hung in homes, offices, cars, children’s clothing, or incorporated in jewellery and ornaments.

Eye Bead

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 Carthage and 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 goes 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 practiced 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 neighborhood.

References:

*This article was originally published at en.wikipedia.org.