Pedro Freideberg, a world-famous artist and designer known for his work with geometric figures, religious symbols and unequaled nuances of colors.
The artist is photographer as well, he was also one of the pioneering creators in Mexico to develop a technique based on the use of a pinhole camera when photography was still an art form mainly dominated by professionals.
The concept of the Ramses Hand has a double meaning, as it used to be perceived as profanity in Mexico, so its name comes from one of most notorious hand gestures worldwide.
Ramses was famous for his ability in giving or withholding his blessing, and so does this symbol admonishes us all of what we may do if we want a blessing or not.
Although it is ‘merely’ a mass produced hand-wrought silver ring, the Ramses ring is one of most famous designs created by Pedro Friedeberg and was described as “one of the most significant symbols in contemporary art” by Edith Turner; lecturer in anthropology and art history at the University of California, Berkeley.
It was “the most spectacular of all” Friedeberg’s works presented in a one-man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) in 1964, which also featured his photographical work; his work has been displayed in several important museums worldwide.
The Ramses hand symbolizes the gesture made by King Ramses II (1290–1223 BC), the great pharaoh of Egypt, which supposedly gave him the power to bring good luck and curse his enemy. In Mexican traditional culture, it was considered profanity and was used as an insult in popular language between people who had a bad relationship with each other.
The Ramses hand is also known under other names, such as “Hands of Fatima“, “Hand of Miriam” (because in Mexico it was related to Saint Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe) or “Handwitch”. The name comes from the book “Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae” by Francis Barrett (1801), where it is described with the power to invoke demons. Many people believed that only witches could make this gesture, but for others it was also an invitation to purification or a symbol of blessing.