Evil Eye Charms

Aşure Ritual in Türkiye
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Craftsmanship, Practices and Beliefs of Nazar Boncuğu  (Evil Eye Charms)

Domain: Traditional Craftsmanship – Social Practices

Element inscribed on the National Registry of ICH of Türkiye



Nazar Boncuğu is a handcrafted glass bead widely used in Türkiye to ward off the evil eye. The beads are fashioned of glass molten in ovens and shaped with thin and thick iron tools to resemble an eye. They are used as accessories or decorations and believed to have positive effects in daily life, especially at times such as births, circumcisions and marriages. Glass-making is a traditional occupation in some cities in the western part of Türkiye, although there are problems in intergenerational transmission in the context of master-apprentice relationship. The use of glass in bead design for the first time in Anatolia started with the craftsmen who came to Izmir from Egypt to make anklets and bead bracelets in Kemeraltı, İzmir. Turks, learned from these masters, developed the bead production in line with their own needs. With the emergence of colored glasses, the eye began to be put on the bead in order to protect people from the evil eye. Its production continues with traditional methods in the village Görece, Menderes district and particularly the village “Nazarköy” of Kemalpaşa, İzmir. The village, which was previously named “Kurudere” (dry wadi) due to the fact that it stands on the side of the stream bed, was later named “Nazarköy” with the decision of the Turkish Council of Ministers in 2007, due to the intense production of evil eye beads.