Nail Amulet

Paku Pertama (First Nail)

"Paku Pertama" = First NamilThis is a nail amulet which is the first nail to be used when building a new home, or new construction of any sort.

“Paku Pertama” = First Nail
This is a nail amulet which is the first nail to be used when building a new home, or a new construction of any sort.

Indonesians often begin construction of their homes with a nail that is believed to be an amulet (jimat). These nails are the first to be used when building a new home or any other type of construction. It’s believed that these nails will protect homes from fires, thieves, earthquakes, and anything imaginable.

After being purchased, the nails are taken to a shaman / witch doctors (dukun, orang pintar, orang pandai) who will perform a ritual, empowering them with magic.

These nails can be purchased at small stalls in most street markets. In addition to the nails, these stalls will have a wide assortment of magic charms for everything imaginable.

These nails can be purchased at small stalls in most street markets. In addition to the nails, these stalls will have a wide assortment of magic charms for anything imaginable.

The nails we saw had Arabic letters embossed on them. Most people in Indonesia, even the teacher / preachers in most Mosques can’t translate Arabic, so we weren’t able to discover the meaning. The people that sell these nails didn’t know what the letters or words meant either.

These shaman learn Arabic phrases or mantras from their fathers and grandfathers, but they don’t know what they mean. People on the street told us that the words were not verses from the Al’quran, and that they were just Arabic words that contained magic powers.

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