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A nazar (Turkish: nazar boncuğu Old Turkic: gökçe munçuk) is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye ("evil eye", from nazar and "amulet" from boncuğu). The word "nazar" is derived from the Arabic نظر, "sight" or "seeing". In Turkish, it is called Munçuk. In Central Asia, during the ages of Tengrism, people held similar superstitions like horseshoes, garlic, wolf's tooth, dried thorn, lead, stones; but the crystal blue eye has always been the most popular one.
It is a common sight in Turkey, Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Armenia, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Azerbaijan, where the nazar is often hung in homes, offices, cars, children's clothing, or incorporated in jewellery and ornaments.
A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge.
The Turkish boncuk (sometimes called a göz boncuğu 'eye bead') is a glass bead characterized by a blue glass field with a blue or black dot superimposed on a white or yellow center. Historically old, the blue bead has gained importance as an item of popular culture in Modern Turkey. The bead probably originated in the Mediterranean and is associated with the development of glass making. Written documents and extant beads date as early as the 16th century BC. Glass beads were made and widely used throughout the ancient world: from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Phoenicia to Persia, and throughout the Roman imperial period.
The nazar image was used as a symbol on the tailfins of aeroplanes belonging to the private Turkish airline Fly Air. It is used in the logo for CryEngine 3, a game engine designed by Crytek, a video game company founded by three Turkish brothers (Cevat, Avni and Faruk Yerli). The father of Attila the Hun was called Munçuk. Nazar was used in the logo of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup events.
Nazar hanging at the entrance of a house in Istanbul.
Nazar on a newborn baby's room-door in a hospital in Turkey.
- Langenscheidt's Pocket Turkish Dictionary.Langenscheidt, 1992, p. 638.
- "The Evil Eye and Mountain Karma in Azerbaijan". thebriefnote.com.
- Lonely Planet Middle East.Lonely Planet; 6 edition, 2009, p. 559.
- Ronald T. Marchese (2005). The Fabric of Life: Cultural Transformations in Turkish Society. pp. 103–107.
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