335 – Ceramic hand

Physical description:
White ceramic hand with red heart-shape on palm.
Museum classification:
Protection
Size:
200mm
Information:

Original text by Cecil Williamson: 'This rather posh and attractive open hand with its heart sign in the middle of the palm was used as a secret sign by a witch long resident in Sidmouth. That genteel town beloved of the retired gentry. The hand held a place of honour in her front parlour window overlooking a well-patronised street. It indicated to her clients in the know as to when her services were available or not and if it was right to call. So with her heart showing it was open for trade, with the hand reversed - call another day.'

Another card, CWOLC 8561, gives a different explanation (perhaps referring to a different, now lost, object) and reads:

"THE HAND OF GLORY

A CHINA HAND WITH HEART SYMBOL USED BY A SOUTH KENSINGTON WTICH GROUP IN THEIR MAGICAL RITUALS. WHEN USED SMALL BIRTHDAY CAKE CANDLES WERE ATTACHED TO THE TOPS OF THE FINGERS BY MELTED WAX AND THEN LIT. PURPOSE TO WORK ILL WISHING AND BLACK MAGIC. ACQUIRED 1948"

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Scarborough Museum has a small metal hand (held open like this one) which was carried as a good luck charm by a soldier during WWI, and is described as a "King Edward's Hand" (informatiion provided by Tabitha Cadbury - see her report 'The Clarke Collection of Charms and Amulets' in the museum library).

See also the brass bell with a hand and heart handle, MoWaM id. no. 3818.

Resource:
Object
Materials:
Ceramic
Copyright ownership:
Copyright to The Museum of Witchcraft Ltd.

Original text by Cecil Williamson: 'This rather posh and attractive open hand with its heart sign in the middle of the palm was used as a secret sign by a witch long resident in Sidmouth. That genteel town beloved of the retired gentry. The hand held a place of honour in her front parlour window overlooking a well-patronised street. It indicated to her clients in the know as to when her services were available or not and if it was right to call. So with her heart showing it was open for trade, with the hand reversed - call another day.'

Another card, CWOLC 8561, gives a different explanation (perhaps referring to a different, now lost, object) and reads:

"THE HAND OF GLORY

A CHINA HAND WITH HEART SYMBOL USED BY A SOUTH KENSINGTON WTICH GROUP IN THEIR MAGICAL RITUALS. WHEN USED SMALL BIRTHDAY CAKE CANDLES WERE ATTACHED TO THE TOPS OF THE FINGERS BY MELTED WAX AND THEN LIT. PURPOSE TO WORK ILL WISHING AND BLACK MAGIC. ACQUIRED 1948"

-------

Scarborough Museum has a small metal hand (held open like this one) which was carried as a good luck charm by a soldier during WWI, and is described as a "King Edward's Hand" (informatiion provided by Tabitha Cadbury - see her report 'The Clarke Collection of Charms and Amulets' in the museum library).

See also the brass bell with a hand and heart handle, MoWaM id. no. 3818.