Five antique Omani silver silver Zar rings (worn by men and women) to protect against evil

Silver Zar ring from Oman
  • Description

Square silver Zar finger-rings with a domed central portion. Made of wire-work and granulation. It was worn for daily use but for a special healing ceremony called the "Zar" ceremony.

The purpose of the Zar ceremony is to exorcise evil spirits. Compare the Black Masses, held in the past, in Christianity. For a description of the Zar process see the beginning of the amulets section. The communal Zar ceremony was conducted by a trained master who performed rituals using incantations, drums, singing, fire, blood and frankincense in order to exorcise evil spirits (Jinns) that possessed the patient causing her illness. Worn by men and women to:

Protect against evil

Be worn at the point during the Zar ceremony after the "patient" has been washed and newly dressed and with new jewelry

Be used as a gift during the Zar ceremony

See the slide-show for five examples of Zar rings.

 

Omani silver ringOmani silver ring

Omani silver ringOmani silver ring

Antique Omani silver zar ring  

Arab names:Rare Omani silver Zar ring (plural of Zar is Zeeran) According to Zwemer the word Zar means " A (sinister) visitor (zara yezuru)  who makes his or her abode and so possess the victim"

Period:  1900-1970

Origin: Worn throughout Oman

References:
  1. Craft heritage of Oman p 165 and 445/446. Tribute to Oman 18th National day R. Richmond p 150.
  2. S.M Zwemer Influence of Animism on Islam an account of popular superstitions 1920 by S.M. Zwemer (has worked in the Gulf and Oman) p 227 - p 244 discusses the Zar: exorcism of demons;
  3. A tribute to Oman National day Volume X "Muscat and its custom houses" Robert Richmond. Apex page 80;
  4. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton Robert Richmond Miranda Morris / Apex London 1997 discusses the Zar ceremony on pages 112, 113-115, 210-216. Page 214 and 215 show a large collection of Zar rings. ;
  5. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p 87 fig 84 ;
  6. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 115
  7. Arab & Islamic Silver by Saad Al-Jadir 1981  Stacey International p 121 Above Five rings listed as Yemeni but three of them are Omani
  8. Volkerenkundig Museum Leiden inv.nr:  5715-2327 mediocre example