TALISMANIC USE OF PRECIOUS STONES 103
was shielded from adverse fortune. However, great care had to be taken
to preserve this ruby of the first class from contact with inferior
specimens, as its virtue would thereby be contaminated, and its power
for good correspondingly diminished.110
The many tali smanie virtues of the ruby are noted in the fourteenth century treatise attributed to Sir John Mandeville.111
Here the fortunate owner of a brilliant ruby is assured that he will
live in peace and concord with all men, that neither his land nor his
rank will be taken from him, and that he will be preserved from all
perils. The stone would also guard his house, his fruit-trees, and his
vineyards from injury by tempests. All the good effects were most
surely secured if the ruby, set in ring, bracelet, or brooch, were worn
on the left side.
gorgeous ruby, the favorite gem of Burma, where the finest specimens
are found, is not only valued for its beauty, but is also believed to
confer invulnerability. To attain this end, however, it is not thought
to be sufficient to wear these stones in a ring or other piece of
jewelry, but the stone must be inserted in the flesh, and thus become,
so to speak, a part of its owner's body. Those who in this way bear
about with them a ruby, confidently believe that they cannot be
wounded by spear, sword, or gun.112 As it is often remarked
that the most daring and reckless soldiers pass unscathed through all
the perils of war, we can understand that this superstition may
sometimes appear to be verified.
110 Surindro Mohun Tagore, " Mani Mala," Pt. I, Calcutta, 1879, p. 199.
lu " Le grand lapidaire de Jean de Mandeville," from the ed. of 1561, ed. by J. S. del Sotto, Vienne, 1862, p. 8.
1U Taw Sein Ko, communication from his " Burmese Necromancy."