Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Amulet Bag :: Blending Ancient Egypt and Native American

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.

18 comments:

Becky Pancake said...

Your amulet bag is awesome. I always enjoy the information that you include in your posts.

Miss Val's Creations said...

A perfect way to marry the different types of amulet bags! It is a beauty. I say the fringe should be a little unruly. That is a beauty of handmade! :)

JoJo said...

That is sooooooo beautiful and no, you can never have enough fringe! What a beautiful job.

Bobbie said...

Looks as though Leslie's cabochon found its perfect home here - the bag is lovely, as is the sentiment behind it. I love the warm, honey tones of the colors.

Liz E said...

Wow, you knocked my socks off with this one. Home RUN ! ! !

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Just gorgeous - as always - I think it is the color combination (along with all that fringe!) that draws my eye right into the bag!

Thank you for clarifying the difference between an Amulet and a Talisman!!

Claudia Aguilar said...

Lovely I love that scarab! :)

Christine Altmiller said...

The history you gave is as rich as this bag. You seamlessly blend styles and traditions. Having no boundaries make your work strong and beautiful. Fringe has that effect too, so this is doubly strong and doubly beautiful! I love each and every detail on this bag! Oh those colors ~ rich and earthy. You really brought your best to this amulet.

KJ said...

Your bag is quite lovely and looks like it will be a useful addition to any wardrobe/jewelry box. The colors are divine. As for your timing, projects ALWAYS take me longer than expected and NEVER come together with the bits and pieces I started with. In other words, you are not alone.

windrock studio said...

I love how you've combined these two interesting cultures. I believe the wearer of this beauty would always feel protected and special ...
a wonderful piece!

Amy S. said...

I am a bit tardy to the hopping party!!! But wow - I love this bag!! And as always I love the educational tidbits as well. Mixed media isn't always easy , but you nailed it. So many great techniques involved here!!

Magic Love Crow said...

Love! I love fringe too! This is such a beautiful creation, especially having the symbolism from both cultures!

Anna said...

I like the combination of cultural influences and the striking resulting piece, Cynthia! Beautiful colors, too....reminding me of autumn :)
Do you ever go to any Native American PowWows? We went to one this summer - just the place for a beader, with all the eye candy! Your piece and reference made me think of this.

Duni said...

That is a gorgeous bag! Love the beaded fringe and beautiful amulet!

Natashalh said...

Very cool! The bead work down the sides looks particularly neat.

Marcela Gmd said...

Lovely!!!!
Have a good week!!!!!:)))

Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

D. Renee Wilson said...

Truly beautiful work, and a lovely post.

LoriF said...

I'm so impressed you are finished (me....not so much, but working on it :-))

What a great remembrance of a lovely blog hop...congratulations on your beautiful work!

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