Cursed? Try a mati!

On a certain Sunday, my best friend came back from Uzbekistan. After embracing her in a big hug, my eyes immediately fell upon the blue bracelet she was wearing on her hand. This bracelet is called kuzmunchoq. As you can see from the picture, the bracelet is decorated with big blue eye – like balls with black pupils. In our culture, this bracelet is worn to protect an individual from evil eyes and meant to be a good luck charm. This superstition was popularized during Ancient Greece around the sixth century. The Greeks created a tangible device in the shape of an eye with a blue iris and named it the mati. The evil eye, they believed, was a type of curse that was brought upon a person when another glared at them with negative intensions and jealousy. Often times, if someone were to compliment one excessively it represented hidden begrudge. Furthermore, the Greeks believed that children were more subject to the evil eye because of their youth and innocence. In order to protect himself from the evil eye, the Greeks prescribed the mati. The mati was a apotropaic visual device in the shape of an eye with a blue iris. It existed in many forms such as jewelry or as a part of vessels and antiquities of the classical era. The idea of the evil eye was spread to different parts of the world and became especially popular in the Mediterranean by Alexander the Great. As you can see, this superstition has dominated much of the eastern world and still exists today.

 

-Khilola, Team Juno

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