Another ancient motif, which
has amuletic connotations, is the eye, encountered
on many prehistoric walls and monuments. These represent
the providential vigilance of benevolent gods and
spirits, counteracting the evil eye of the malevolent
demons. This belief is particularly prevalent in
the Arab world, where a proverb goes: "the
evil eye empties houses and fills tombs".
According to a related Turkish
legend, there was once a massive rock by the sea,
which even the force of a thousand men and a load
of dynamite couldn't move or crack. There was also
a man in the town, known to carry the evil eye (nazar).
After much persuasion, he was convinced to come
to the rock. He took one look at it and said, "My!
What a huge rock". No sooner had he uttered
the words than there was a rip, roar and crack and
the impossible boulder split into two. Indeed, the
deep-seated fear of the harmful eye has meant that
wearing a rival eye - a protective symbol that can
outstare the evil one - has proved immensely popular
over many centuries. One such object is the blue
eye from Turkey, known locally as nazar boncuk,
which is set into a variety of jewelry forms.
Another rebuff to the negative
eye are the Tibetan gzi beads, believed to be the
droppings of the mythical bird Garuda as it flies
across the skies.
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