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The Egyptian zar ceremony: silver amulets from a private collection, a catalogue and interpretation
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 01:18 authored by Lynneeta June Darmody
The Zar has played an important role in Egyptian folk religion. The thesis examines the origins and format of this cult and its ceremony, before concentrating on the silver amulets that feature both in the Zar ceremony and a Zar cult devotee's life. A detailed and annotated catalogue of such amulets from a private collection forms the bulk of the thesis. The amulets, in their various forms, are a cultural legacy. Their aesthetic characteristics and spiritual portrayal bear solid testimony to the story of the cult, from its zenith at the opening of the twentieth century, through its transformation, change of role and continued adherence by its devotees at the century's close. The growing scarcity of these antique amulets, and the demise of many of their owners, has prompted this exploration and documentation, before all personal sources of information are lost. The Zar appears to have a positive and placatory effect on the psyche, this being acquired by its devotees through dance movement and a personal belief in its holistic nature. The ceremony provides an arena for social interaction and emotional stability; these positive effects have assisted the Zar cults' continuation in Egypt.