I started this bag about 2 weeks ago and was hoping to finish it before the last ATTS hop hosted by Christine and Therese. I didn't quite make it, but I did finish. So here it is, my amulet bag.
The bag came together in pieces. I started with the top band of peyote in a 'basket weave' which I attached to a piece of suede. The suede was beaded or 'zipped' along the side with a ladder stitch and a bit of picot that I stitched into the bag to ensure it was secure.
Then came piles of fringe, can you ever have enough fringe? Its a bit unruly, and makes you want to constantly comb your fingers through it to straighten it out. The last piece I added was the scarab created by Lesley Watt from metal clay. I bezeled this months ago and it sat on the bead table awaiting just the right project.
An amulet is an object that protects its owner from harm, which is different from a talisman that is believed to bring luck as well as protection. Amulets can come in the form of gems, statues, coins or even a plant or animal. The word origin is Latin (amulētum) and prevalent in ancient Rome. But the tradition stems from Egyptians who believed that stones were associated with gods, and that wearing these stones, or amulets, gave powers from the gods. By the time of Egypt's Middle Kingdom the scarab shape had become a powerful protection amulet particularly for kings, who wore stone carvings of the beetles for protection both in life and the afterlife.
While the Romans tended to wear stones as amulets, the Native American tribes tended to create small bags to carry sacred objects, medicine or tobacco. The bags were often painted, beaded or quilled with characteristic tribal designs. The Shaman (or medicine man) would carry 'medicine' in these bags to treat sickness or disease. But they were also used for luck, protection and strength in battle. Some medicine bags included paint (with powerful magic) which gave the warrior the belief that he was invincible in battle.
My amulet bag is a cross between these two cultures. It has the symbolism of ancient Egypt with Lesley's lovely scarab, but created as a bag to carry the amulet protection. And a bonus that it comes with lots of fringe that is so depictive of Native American bags.