Talismanic amulets

Artist: Rashid Koraichi (Algeria, born 1947; active Tunisia)
Historical period(s)
H x W x D (average): 16.6 x 5.1 x 0.1 cm (6 9/16 x 2 x 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


protection, Tunisia
Provenance research underway.

Inspired by the forms and shapes of the Arabic alphabet, Rashid Koraichi, an Algerian artist working in Tunisia, has created his own parallel system of letters and signs. These are etched on the surface of small, polished steel plaques and include stylized numbers, geometric shapes, crescent moons, scarabs, as well as a variety of letters-some recalling Arabic, others Japanese characters. According to Koraichi, these plaques serve as amulets and are meant to be viewed in multiples of seven-a magic number in Islam. This work is made up of forty-nine amulets. Much like the symbols on talismans that are intended to protect against evil and misfortune, Koraichi's motifs lend his amulets a sense of power and mystery. Even if some of them are familiar and recognizable, they function first and foremost as pure, abstracted shapes with their own particular meaning. In this respect, Koraichi's amulets function both as signs of the present day as well as vestiges of an ancient visual culture.

Published References
  • Christine Mullen Kreamer. Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art. Exh. cat. Washington and Milan. p. 99.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World, Contemporary Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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