Oudja

Greetings and welcome!  I’m delighted to be starting a new blog which will discuss not only recipes and activities within my kitchen, but also the flora, fauna and birds which I view outside my kitchen window.  But first, I’d like to explain the meaning of my banner design.

The following has been taken from “The American Stationer, Volume 19” dated May 20, 1896:

“The latest novelty in ladies note-paper is a reproduction of the curious talisman that has been known in Egypt for the past eighteen centuries and worn as a charm by ladies and gentlemen.  The name of this prosperity bringing talisman is “Oudja” signifying luck and happiness and it shows the eyes of Horus from which a tear-drop flows, intended to represent the River Nile. The pecular property of the “Oudja” is to bring good luck; but the Pharaohs looked upon it as an emblem not only capable of warding off adversity, but also of having large influence over the yielding of the earth, containing as it does, the main principals and fertility, viz.. fire represented by the sun, Horus, and water, by the tear flowing as the Nile.  A little amulet is being adopted by many members of the aristocracy in Paris and London, and is presented by friends one to the other with graceful wishes used on such occasions to such an extent that no person with a particle of superstition will exist without his or her Oudja.

“In London these amulets are creating furore, from the simple fact of their hailing from Egypt and the curious history to the first one worn in England, owned by the fair young wife of a handsome guardsman who sent it from Cairo with these words: ‘This is a charm which protected the cultivators of ancient Egypt against inclement weather; may it act likewise in your favor, and insure brilliant days for your parties.’  Alas, the bright days did not last, for from the Soudan the young captain was reported as having fallen a victim to country and duty. But his widow refused to believe, excepting in her “Oudja”, and wept and prayed to bring her loved one back again, despite the official news of his death.  But the extraordinary escape and return of the officer became the topic of the hour in London; the Egyptian talisman, with gratitude, being considered the real agent that produced the miracle.  A charming legend thus attached to the “Oudja” and in a short time every lady and gentleman will wear the eye of Horus to bring good luck, prosperity and happiness to themselves and those around them.

“This talisman has been utilized by Ph. Hake in his newest design for note paper.”

If you search “Oudja” on the internet, you will find references to a location in Morocco but not much else.  If the 1896 article above is correct, then there should be many of these antique amulets available.  But where are they?  I can’t find them!  Supposedly Frank M. Whiting manufactured silverplate flatware in the 1895 “Oudja” pattern but I can’t locate a piece of that either.  Was “Oudja” perhaps spelled differently?  It is remarkably similar to Ouija and the first “Quija” board was invented in 1890 so the timing fits.  If anyone reading this has any information on “Oudja”, whether it be the amulet or the flatware, please let me know.

UPDATE – “The Oudja” charm found:

I’ve been fortunate enough to locate and purchase this charm marked “The Oudja”:b 022-35

I’ve also found an advertisement in an 1886 issue of “The Literary World” which reads as follows:

“THE OUDJA.  The ancient Egyptian charm of the Sacred Eye of Horus. A novelty of an amulet dating back 33 centuries to the time of the Pharaohs. A “porte bonheur”,  “au bon voyage”, “the eye that carries good luck”.  A charming legend is connected it. Reproductions are for sale by PALMER, BACHELDER & CO., 146 Tremont Street, Boston.”

The above ad refers to the charm as “The Oudja” just as my charm reads “The Oudja”.  And this ad is 10 years earlier than “The American Stationer” article quoted above.  Could it be that my charm is the same as that advertised by Palmer, Machelder & Co. in 1886?  I think maybe so.

I wish all those who read this blog good luck, properity and happiness to themselves and those around them.

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