This fine and good-sized example of a talismanic amulet pendant is from the Casablanca region, Morocco. It was worn on the chest as a protective device to bring luck and ward off evil. It is shaped as a Hand of Fatima (the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad) with four fingers and a thumb and is engraved with scrolling foliage motifs. A solid-cast, high-relief salamander figure has been applied to the centre.
The top has been fixed with a silver hoop to allow suspension.
The reverse is stamped with two origin marks, including a crescent moon and star mark which was used by silversmiths in Casablanca in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
More sought after Moroccan khamsa pendants are emblazoned with salamanders. The creatures are said to be afraid of neither water nor fire, they are well known for surviving droughts, and so are seen as additionally protective.
Related examples are illustrated in Rabate & Goldenberg (1999, p. 194), Amel (1998, p. 309) and Mourad, Ramirez & Rolot (1998, p. 163).
The example here is in fine condition.
Amel, P., et al, Splendeurs du Maroc, Musee Royal de l’Afrique Central, Belgium, 1998.
Mourad, K., F. Ramirez & C. Rolot, Arts et Traditions du Maroc, ACR Edition, 1998.
Rabate, M., & A. Goldenberg, Bijoux du Maroc, Edisud, 1999.