Three bronchitis amulets, English, 1914.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm

Three bronchitis amulets, English, 1914.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


These amuletic bracelets made from glas beads were collected by the folklorist Edward Lovett. They were sold as a form of protection against bronchitis. Different London Boroughs had different designs. The blue amulet comes from Willesden market, the green amulet from Upper Holloway market and the yellow amulet from Dalston market. An amulet is a personal ornament which, because of its shape, material, or colour, is believed to endow its wearer with certain powers or capabilities and offer protection. The Ancient Egyptians often used amulets to protect themselves against disease. The Egyptian words for 'amulet' come primarily from words meaning 'to guard' or 'protect' and also 'well being'.

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