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March 20th 2024: Lecture by Chris Aslan via Zoom at 18.00

May the eye not strike: magical protection in Islamic textiles and jewellery

Belief in the Evil Eye is still widespread, including across the Muslim world. Amulets, embroidered mirror-work, beads and power emblems such as the hand, the eye, rams’ horns, the triangle and the chilli all help protect those fearful of the Evil Eye or the jinn. Whether adorning a person or a cradle, house or yurt, textiles and jewellery and even architecture have been shaped by a desire to provide spiritual protection.

Chris Aslan was born in Turkey and spent his childhood there. After university in the UK, he moved to Khiva, establishing a UNESCO workshop reviving 15th century carpet designs and embroideries. He left during an anti-Western purge and spent a year writing about his experiences in A Carpet Ride to Khiva. Chris then spent several years in the Pamirs mountains of Tajikistan. His latest book is Unravelling the Silk Road: Travels and Textiles in Central Asia.


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