I NEED INFO ON A FIGA/HIGA BELL
September 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm #12131
Has anyone seen one of these bells?
September 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm #17152
I am trying to see if this is a rare bell, please help with any knowledge.
<<<<<<<<< Thanks, Nikki >>>>>>>>>>>>
September 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm #17153
September 21, 2012 at 12:03 am #17154RonaKesselmanParticipant
Welcome to the Bell Talk Forum. The members who contribute to this discussion are all volunteers so it may take some time for all who know of this type bell to chime in. I also have a similar bell which I aquired from another bell member. Often, people will write identifying information inside the bell or a catalog numbering system. My particular bell has written that it comes from Brazil. I don’t know if that is correct or not. Hopefully others will weigh in with more information. Here’s a of photo of mine. It is about 6 inches tall. Bell is make of heavy brass with carved wooden handle.
October 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm #17155GarryParticipant
Ok, this is a new one to me.
But I did some research;
From http://www.colonialzone-dr.com I found this quote:
“Higa or Figa Amulets (Ásabache as it is known in Dominican Republic)
Spanish seamen, being very superstitious, thought it brought bad luck to pass by some of the “cursed islands”. To deflect this bad luck some thought that by passing a cursed islands on the north side would bring better luck while others thought that passing by on the south side was better. It was the perception that the devil brought storms and that many places were cursed. This is why the crew had to use something to protect themselves against this evil. Especially the evil eye. The higa or figa, it is thought, was first used as a good luck charm, worn around the neck for protection. It seems that some were also quite large and it is believed these were used to protect the animals such as horses or dogs. There have been many found in shipwrecks and along the beaches. Many of which are on display the Museo de las Cases Reales de Santo Domingo.
“Figa,” the small hand shaped amulets that has the thumb placed between the index finger and the middle finger. The lucky figa is an amulet made in the shape of a hand. This hand is clenched into a fist with the thumb sticking up between the index and second fingers. These have been found to be made from many different substances. Among them is coral, wood, ivory, natural crystal, jet and gold. Almost any material that could be formed into this fist shape was used. There have been other items, such as spoons and boxes, embellished with the figa.
In some countries the figa is considered to be obscene because of the hand gesture it represents.”
Now, I know that many cultures also use bells to ward off evil, so I suspect that this is a combination ward for evil spirits. The loud sounds of the bell are supposed to frighten the spirits away.
It seems to be mostly a Dominican Republic based icon and can also be in many forms, but mostly small pendants.
Hope this helps!
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