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Incantation Bowl

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1961A316
Collection:Antiquities - Western Asiatic
Date:224 AD - 651 AD


During the Sassanian period there were many Jewish settlers living in Babylonia in southern Iraq. They left behind many magic bowls like this.The bowls are inscribed in Aramaic with magic texts designed to protect one's wife, children, house or other property. The bowls were often built into walls or foundations or placed in cemeteries. They were normally placed upside down, sometimes stacked one on top of another. Putting them upside down may have been a way of magically trapping the offending demons inside them so that they could not bring harm.

Presented by Field Museum of Natural History.

Further Information

Production Period:Sassanian
Place of Origin:Iraq
Place of Excavation:SS7 surface
Kish, Iraq


Depth:6 cm
Diameter:19 cm