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Ancient Roman Gold Manu Fica Amulet

Ancient Roman Gold Manu Fica Amulet



DATE: Roman, 3rd Century AD

This remarkable gold Manu Fica pendant dates from the 3rd century AD (!!!). Made somewhere in the Roman Empire, given the styling most likely Egypt, it's crafted in 22 karat yellow gold and features the most incredible detailing. The closed fingers appear to be holding a leaf in the palm, and a bracelet with amulet is worn around the wrist. 

The Manu Fica (aka figa, fig hand, mano fico) is an ancient obscene gesture, intended to figuratively represent sexual union. It was used to ward of the Evil Eye, apparently on the assumption that evil can be repelled by obscenity; that even demons will flee from the notion of sex/reproduction. The fig (fica in Latin) was a fruit sacred to Bacchus, and associated by the Romans with female fertility and eroticism. Among Early Christians, the gesture was known as the manus obscena, or "obscene hand".

Although it has long since fallen out of use in Italy, the fig hand is still used as a rude gesture in certain parts of Greece, Turkey, Korea, and Madagascar. In Japan, Indonesia, and the Netherlands it's a gesture symbol for sexual intercourse, and in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Croatia, and Serbia it's used when denying a request, or refusing to do something. In many other countries, the UK and US included, the gesture is - bizarrely - only really used as part of a game where one person pretends to steal the other's nose. 


2.1 x 1.2 x 0.8cm




No marks present, tests as ~22k gold


Good. Remarkably good given its age. There's some general wear/patina commensurate with age but the details remain distinct and intact. 


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