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hand carved horn pendant protection amulet antique vintage

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Lovely and charming hand carved horn pendant. This is a vintage piece and I am not sure of the exact type of horn. PENDANT measures 2.25 inches


The cornuto, corno, or cornicello is an Italian amulet of ancient origin. Corno means "horn" and cornicello means "little horn" -- these names refer to a long, gently twisted horn-shaped amulet worn in Italy to protect against the evil eye. Cornicelli are usually carved out of red coral or made of gold or silver. The type of horn they are intended to copy is not a curled-over sheep horn or goat horn but rather like the twisted horn of an African eland or something similar. Over the years they have become rather stylized and now look less like a natural animal horn than they once did. A regionally popular amulet, they are primarily found in Italy and in America among descendents of Italian immigrants. You can buy cornicelli at any Italian jewelry store in New York to this day.

These little horns (like the horns of all horned animals) are presumed to have once been sacred to the Old European moon goddess, before the rise of Christianity. Some modern evangelical Catholics disparage the continued use of cornicelli among Italian Catholics and refer to them as "Satan's horns" or "Lucifer's horns" but this is absolutely nonsense, as they were always seen as the horns of the moon goddess -- and hence, in Catholic symbolism, would be related to the Virgin Mary, who is shown standing on a lunar crescent.

Related to the corno is the mano cornuta or "horned hand." This is an Italian hand-gesture (or an amulet imitative of the gesture) that can be used to indicate that a man has been cuckholded ("wears the horns") and also to ward off the evil eye. Mano means "hand" and corno means "horn."

The evil eye is believed to harm nursing mothers and their babies, bearing fruit trees, milking animals, and the sperm of men -- the forces of generation. The Neapolitan custom of making cornuto charms from silver (formerly sacred to the moon goddess Luna) and blood coral (formerly sacred to the sea goddess Venus) hints at the cultural survival of a link between the horned animal head and ancient worship of a neolithic-era mother- or fertility-goddess whose consort was a male deity sometimes called the Horned God. Whether or not this is the case, the cornuto is still a popular amulet worn by Italian men to protect their genitalia from the evil eye.

hand carved horn pendant protection amulet antique vintage


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