Hand over fist

There is usually something a little strange about disembodied hands (or arms or legs or other extremities). My husband has a habit of managing to sleep with one arm thrust under his pillow and a hand dangling over my head. Many a time I have been alarmed at the sight or touch of this disembodied hand in the night! Thankfully though I am not disturbed by knockers with hands.

Alcúdia, Mallorca

The little hand clutching a ball (or occasionally an apple) is called The hand of Fatima. A symbol of protection, it is a common door knocker in Mediterranean countries but originated in Muslim countries where Fatima was the Prophet’s daughter. This ancient symbol was called Miriam’s hand in the Jewish faith. Sometimes the hand wears a ring or two, sometimes a cuff or bracelet. There are some that are flat and very stylised, hardly recognisable as hands at all.

Axminster, Devon

Cromer, Norfolk

Other hands on your knockers (sorry, I can’t help myself) include what I think of ‘hand and laurel’ but apparently is actually called “The Wellington”.

Bridport, Dorset

Apparently the creation of it has been credited to a London ironmonger called David Bray in 1814, celebrating the Duke of Wellington’s victories in Spain and Portugal. The hand of the “immortal hero” grasps a field Marshall’s baton and a wreath of victory. Until I read about it on Shannon Selin’s wonderful blog post about its history I hadn’t really noted the lion at the base, which apparently represents British valour overpowering tyranny.

Ipswich, Suffolk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s