The symbols engraved onto jewellery and ornaments across North Africa are often things that offer protection against the ‘evil eye’, which represents the fear of envy and the power of envy over people.

Signs and symbols that can deflect the gaze of the eye are found in many shapes and forms. Fish are felt to offer protection against the evil eye when in transit, making it a common motif to find on pins like this one, used to hold a woollen cloak closed against the cold whilst travelling.  

This pin was one of several collected by Percy and Hannah Powell-Cotton in Tunisia during their expedition of 1935. Normally Percy travelled overland to reach his destinations, but on this occasion the Powell-Cottons flew! It took two days to make the journey and Percy noted in his journal that it was very expensive. Their baggage and camping equipment still went overland and met them there.