Inside an Iraqi workshop for traditional talismans

This family has been making 'seven eyes' talismans for generations

Location: Kerbala, Iraq

The traditional Iraqi talisman is believed to keep envy away

It is pierced with seven holes

and sometimes decorated with Quranic verses

People across the Arab world hang them on their doorsteps

and use smaller versions as jewelry or decoration

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SEVEN EYE TALISMAN CRAFTSMAN, ABU HUSSEIN, SAYING:"According to my limited knowledge, the blue color calms and comforts the soul. As if you would be standing on the beach in front of the sea and you see the blue water, your soul relaxes. At the same time, the blue color keeps the evil eye at bay. And about envy. What is envy exactly? Envy is when someone wishes for a blessing to be taken away from its owner. If a person feels this way on the inside, then their gaze can be an evil one that wishes this blessing to be taken away from the other person."

Hussein's talismans sell for about $1.37 in local markets

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SEVEN EYE TALISMAN CRAFTSMAN, ABU HUSSEIN, SAYING:"It is not about money only. This work involves an artistic spirit. There is an historic touch. My passion and love for this work is what has made me go on."

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