Thursday, August 06, 2015

Incantation bowls in the National Syrian Museum?

ARAMAIC WATCH: How to stop Daesh from eradicating history? Iraq gets a digital library to preserve artifacts ( This article tells the important story of a project to digitize books and documents in the Baghdad National Library, which is good news, but is outside the scope of PaleoJudaica. That story is also covered by The Independent and the AP (follow the links in the piece linked to above).

But what caught my eye in the article was the photograph, the caption of which reads "A book, one of the 700 Iraqi antiquities, in the care of Syria authorities is on display at the National Syrian Museum in Damascus on April 23, 2008. (AFP/File)." The photo does indeed show an Arabic book, but in the foreground there is also a partial view of two bowls. The one on the right is unquestionably an Aramaic incantation bowl. I can make out some of the letters, but no connected sense. I suspect the bowl on the left is another of the same, but I can't see enough to be certain. So that tells us that the National Syrian Museum in Damascus has one and probably more Iraqi Aramaic incantation bowls in its collection. That is hardly a surprise, but it's an interesting little tidbit.