Text: Song of Songs (entire book)
11″ x 14″
Original has been sold.
The chamsa is a Middle Eastern symbol that crosses many cultures, including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Bedouin, and more. It has as many interpretations for its exact meaning as there are people, but common ones include being the “Hand of Miriam,” the “Hand of Fatima,” the “Hand of Mary,” an amulet that protects against the evil eye, a symbol of symmetry and balance in life, among others. It’s an open hand with five fingers (the word “chamsa” comes from the Arabic for “five”) and often has other symbols inside it.
This chamsa design was commissioned as a custom piece for a friend’s wedding using the text of the book Song of Songs (a.k.a. Shir HaShirim, Songs of Solomon), a collection of biblical love poems. The center of the chamsa has the traditional eye for protection against the evil eye and a Star of David. The upper half of the chamsa is filled with the Seven Species of the Land of Israel: olives, pomegranates, dates, figs, grapes, wheat, and barley. The lower half has the text אני לדודי ודודי לי/”Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (in gender-neutral Hebrew, by the way, so it’s a great gift for any couple).