Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Hand-shaped Door Knockers
Until I made yesterday's post about door-knocking customs in England, I had never seen a hand-shaped door knocker. It seems that they are all over Prague, Malta, and even Barcelona.
The hand could symbolize the Hand of Fatima of the hand of Miriam, depending on whether you were Muslim or Jewish (Fatima was the daughter of Mohammed, and Miriam was the sister of Moses). It was there to protect the house and ward of evil spirits. Perhaps the ring that you see on the ring finger of many of these door knockers is a "cultivated" representation of the eye that is so often in the center of the Hamsa Hand or Hamesh Hand.
There was a custom of having different knockers with different sounds for men and for women in Islamic countries so that Islamic women, who were forbidden to open a door to a man, could know if their visitor was a man or a woman.
I guess it was kind of like a ringtone!