an artists' view

an artists' view

Sunday, 26 August 2012

'fears, foes, & faeries'

At Scarborough Museum is an exhibition called 'fears, foes & faeries', which is on until the 30th September.
Anyone with any interest in folklore, and charms and amulets, would find this a fascinating looksee.
It uses the Museum's collection which came from William James Clarke, who was collecting between 1900-1945, and lived in Scarborough.
The photographs are of one of the exhibition cases in the 'Charmacy & Health' room.
Below is a close-up of 2 of the exhibits; on the left is the throat of a goose; on the right is a fabric bag, which held a charm for health.
Animal parts were used by cunning men and women, and witches, as part of healing rituals, and the philosophy of 'sympathetic magic'. To twenty-first century eyes, this can seem uncomfortable and even cruel.....the kingfisher nailed to the mast of a boat, which came from Guernsey, as recently as 1913, was one which struck me particularly. It was supposed to bring a good catch to the fishermen. And possessing a kingfisher feather was thought to bring protection from lightning. 
Life was tough for ordinary people in the early years of the twentieth century, and they needed any help they could get.

More information can be found here.

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