eye image on front of ship hulls? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 21 Old 04-16-2011
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Maybe it didn't mean anything to the boat owners other than looking cool!
Nah! Today may signify nothing but in the old days was an indispensable protection against bad luck cast by others or by the gods themselves. The protection against the "Evil eye". I don't know if this means something to you guys, but here and on ancient cultures it still has a meaning: "Mau olhado" in Portuguese means to cast a spell on someone and the believe was that it could be done by powerful people with just their eyes.

Look at the destructive rays coming out of Superman face and all the power in the eyes on the cartoon heroes and Villains and you will understand that it is a transposition of the "Evil eye" to the urban mythology.

Superstition always rated high among sailors so it is normal the persistence of the eyes in the boat as a symbolic protection against bad luck long after people forget what that real was about, a bit like sailors disliking to change a boat's name, without really knowing why.

"The amount of literary and archeological evidence attests to the belief in the evil eye in the eastern Mediterranean for millennia ....Disks or balls, consisting of concentric blue and white circles (usually, from inside to outside, dark blue, light blue, white, dark blue) representing an evil eye are common apotropaic talismans in the Middle East, found on the prows of Mediterranean boats and elsewhere; in some forms of the folklore, the staring eyes are supposed to bend the malicious gaze back to the sorcerer."

Evil eye - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 04-16-2011 at 08:15 AM.
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post #12 of 21 Old 04-16-2011
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The bow eye probably arose after the Dorian invasions of Mycenaean Greece, when the Corinthians, later the Athenians, applied the eye to ward off ENVY of their Biremes and Triremes and long distance cargo craft.
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post #13 of 21 Old 04-16-2011
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The bow eye probably arose after the Dorian invasions of Mycenaean Greece, when the Corinthians, later the Athenians, applied the eye to ward off ENVY of their Biremes and Triremes and long distance cargo craft.
And you said that all in one breath and with a straight face. I'm impressed.

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post #14 of 21 Old 04-16-2011
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Greek, or pre-Greek. So your wife, Neptune's daughter, can see what lies in front of her and better protect you while at sea. (You were properly wed to your vessel, weren't you?)

The Norse often carved dragon heads into the stems, Europeans built up full figureheads. All for the same purpose. The Chinese...burned their great fleets and hid the memory of them, in order to avoid infection by the barbarians of the lower kingdom.
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post #15 of 21 Old 04-16-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies, interesting stuff.

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post #16 of 21 Old 05-16-2011
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Last week end I have dived in Sesimbra an old fishing town that today is more of a touristic resort, and I had the pleasure to saw that in some boats they still use eyes. And they just look good

The 3 first are from Sesimbra boats still in active duty and the last two are from old boats in the Museum.











Regards

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post #17 of 21 Old 08-08-2011
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About the Chinese I don't know, but we had eyes in our traditional boats till the mid of the XX century.

paraSeco2.jpg (image)

Here the tradition is more than 2000 years old and has origin in the Phoenician boats that had eyes. Phoenicians and Carthaginians had colonies in Portugal. On the med, the tradition come from the East, but it may be a tradition developed independently on other earth regions. after all, who wants to sail a blind boat

My first boat, a traditional 80 years Canoa still had eyes when I bought it and after I had restored it, it seemed not right to blind her, so she maintained those beautiful eyes, just in case...

Regards

Paulo
There quite a few fishing boats still carrying the eyes also on good luck charms and door knockers its to ward off the evil eye


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post #18 of 21 Old 08-08-2011
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post #19 of 21 Old 08-08-2011
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I talked with the owner of a Chinese Junk and was told that if the boat was used for fishing the eyes look down, but if the boat was sailing long distances the eyes would look outward
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post #20 of 21 Old 08-08-2011
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Oddly enough I just finished this book.

Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy

It has a nice section on why the greeks had eyes on there boat. I think they were carved out of marble and then put on there boats. Sadly I can't really remember the exact reasons that they put the them there. It's a good read if you like that kind of stuff.

always in decline-never hitting bottom
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