Paper Amulet 2

rubin amulet comp

Last week I went to the Rubin Museum and did some sketches of masks, but the real reason I was there was to take a workshop.  Last March I posted a paper amulet I had made based on an old sketch I did at the museum (, but at that time I could not find any information about them online to see what they really looked like.  When I saw that the Rubin was offering a workshop on paper amulets I signed up, ready to compare my interpretation with the real thing.

inside of amulet 1a

Quite different, it turns out.  First, there’s what you can’t see:  on the inside of the paper is a mandala with blessings and prayers.  Originally these were painstakingly drawn for each amulet; now they are printed in black and white and then colored with the hues of the 5 elements:  earth (yellow), water (white), fire (red), air (blue) and space (green).  I like the addition of “space” to the four that are usually listed.  Gold color (we used a gold gel pen) and gold leaf is also added.  In addition, herbs and spices relating to the particular blessing are placed in the center.

rubin amulet side 1 close up s

There is a particular way that each is folded as well.  In the end we had tiny thick paper boxes.  Instead of stitching, as I had done, the 5 colors are wrapped around the amulet to hold it closed.  There are traditional wrappings, or you can make up your own.  They can be simple stripes, or woven with a needle;  the ends can be tucked inside, or tied on the outside and left as fringe.  There was not much time to do the wrapping, so most of us just did something spontaneous and simple.

paper amulet 2 comp

I had done another paper amulet of my own before I took the workshop.  I like the idea of the drawing inside.  And I’d like to explore the threads wrapping the paper.  But I like my own interpretation too.  And I did write my own sort of blessing or prayer inside, so it was certainly in the same spirit.

laughing buddha s

Because I now know the correct search term (Tibetan paper amulets), I found a few good references online:

The workshop was given by Carmen Mensink.  She lives in the Netherlands, but travels around the world giving workshops, and I highly recommend this one.  She is also an accomplished painter:

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel

10 responses to “Paper Amulet 2”

  1. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    Ooh, love the colors in this, and the idea behind it too! Thanks for sharing it! Will you be making more?

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Yes, in my spare time…seriously, I would like to do more. At the moment I’m pretty involved with a few fiber things that I want to get done. And I’m doing knitting, I have a whole pile of stuff that’s knitted to put together. And I have a few ideas for days coming up (my first day of the month grid, not to mention it’s never too early to think about birds). Never enough time, as you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. memadtwo says :

    Boy, I wish I was brimming with ideas. This is a wonderful amulet.


  3. lesliepaints says :

    This is so interesting! I knew nothing about paper amulets. I love what you made!

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks! I’m always making a little sketch or writing things down when I see them in museums and intend to look up more about the artist/work…and sometimes I actually do!


  4. Carol King says :

    i had never heard of these amulets before, but i love the idea of having prayers and herbs inside.

    Boy, you get around, The Morgan, The Rubin. I have to get to them soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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