Go back to article: A history of amulets in ten objects


What are amulets? How are they situated in the larger narrative of European healing? Varied and complex objects, amulets present both challenges and opportunities for historians and museums alike. Yet an examination of these often-overlooked items within a medical context can provide significant information about cure and protection over different times and geographies. This article analyses ten amulets from the Science Museum collections, and asks what we can learn from exploring these objects’ material features and varying functions. It argues for a re-consideration of amulets from their categorisation by nineteenth- and twentieth-century collectors and classification by modern museums, to their recognition as a significant part of the history of healing.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/191103/001