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Victorian Red Coral Manu Fica Amulet

Victorian Red Coral Manu Fica Amulet



DATE: Victorian, c.1850

An excellent antique coral manu fica amulet dating from the early Victorian period, circa 1850. It's gold-topped, and the deep red coral creates a striking contrast with the yellow metal.

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.


Red Coral


25.0 x 7.9mm




No marks present, tests as 9k gold


Very good, with fine antique patina


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