The bowl, designated SD34, measures 153mm across and 55mm in depth, contains fourteen lines written in a neat formal hand spiralling clockwise from the bottom of the concave side to its rim, and is mostly well preserved. The bowl most likely comes from Mesopotamia and should be reckoned to date from between the fourth and seventh centuries of the Common Era.
This text is an incantation for success in business. Texts for this purpose are surprisingly rare, so we are pleased to be able to present this particular example. There are a variety of purposes underlying Jewish economic magic texts, including incantations for getting rich, industry, agriculture, gambling and those seeking to bring success to commercial ventures, whether for a travelling merchant or for the owner of a shop. It is this latter type that corresponds best with our present text, which is seeking to bring customers to the client’s business premises. Thus the theme of “gathering” is central to the functional terminology of this bowl and other such texts.
To view the full publication see: Levene, Dan, and Siam Bhayro. 2005/2006. “Bring to the Gates… upon a good smell and upon good fragrances”: An Aramaic incantation bowl for success in business. Archiv für Orientforschung (51):242-246.