Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎)

KHOL (كحل) EYELINER AND THE EVIL EYE (عين الحسود)

Many women in the Middle East are known for their exotic beauty.  Almost all of them looked beautiful to me!  Actually, it was difficult to figure out if they were beautiful or not, based only on their eyes.  So it is understandable that they would use this Kohl eyeliner to deepen the mystery about their eyes, they use Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎).

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎), the evil eye, the grand bazar, istanbul

The use of Kohl dates back centuries and has been passed on to the next generation of young Middle East women. Traditionally Kohl was used for its therapeutic properties. It was believed to protect against eye disease and help control the glare of the sun in the desert.  I know I saw plenty of Bedouin men in the desert of Jordan wearing it as well, so there must be something to its therapeutic use.  Modern day American football players use it on game day.

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎)

Basically, It creates a very smoky and exotic look for these women:

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎), the evil eye, the grand bazar, istanbul

 I believe they are going for the mysterious sultry look.

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎)

Although the use of Kohl eyeliner has been used in the Middle East, North Africa and Indian cultures for thousands of years before Christ, it has been shown that the Kohl products have high levels of lead because it is made from galena (lead sulfide).

Kohl has also been used in India as a cosmetic for a long time, as well. Mothers would apply kohl to their infants’ eyes soon after birth. This was said to “strengthen the child’s eyes” and they believed it could prevent the child from being cursed by the evil eye.

The “evil eye” is also known in Arabic as ʿayn al-ḥasūd (عين الحسود‎).   The idea expressed by the term causes many cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The concept and its significance vary widely among different cultures and is a widely extended belief among tribes, primarily the Middle East.  I have read that the idea appears several times in translations of the Old Testament.

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎), the evil eye, the grand bazar, istanbul, turkey

Charms and decorations featuring the eye are a common sight in Turkey and have become a popular souvenir of tourists.

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎), the evil eye, the grand bazar, istanbul

I gave a few of these glass charm key rings to some Mexican friends of mine for good luck and they were telling me that they are very familiar with the evil eye (ojo malo).

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎), the evil eye, the grand bazar, istanbul, turkey

The “evil eye”

Khol (كحل‎) Eyeliner and the Evil Eye (عين الحسود‎)

The Mexicans have a little bit different twist on the concept, but for them, it helps them with the forces in the environment.  They are innocent victims of these forces which may be witches, evil spirits, the consequences of poverty, or bacterias which invade their body.  Mexican folk concepts of disease are based in part on the notion that people can be victimized by the careless or malicious behavior of others and so they need to be protected.

*1st photo courtesy of Chrissy’s Travels.

Recommended Reading about Jordan:

Listening to Silence

Off to Jordan

Petra Jordan

Petra Jordan by Night

Aqaba, Jordan

Candlelit Nights in Jordan

Bedouins of Jordan

The Top Things to do in Jordan

Here is a Petra Live Stream Cam if you are interested in watching it.

 

2018-01-23T18:55:01+00:00

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