This is the Ashmolean's first exhibition to examine how magical thinking has been practised over the centuries. With exquisitely engraved rings to bind a lover, enchanted animal hearts pierced with nails, mummified cats concealed in walls and many other intriguing objects, this exhibition shows that our use of magic is driven by our strongest emotions: the need to be loved, our fear of evil and the desire to protect our homes.
While belief in magic and rituals can be comforting, it has also led to the persecution of women as witches. This exhibition examines both the idea of the witch and the reality of how women were accused of witchcraft.
Even today, our tendency to think magically has not changed as much as we might think. To illuminate the links between past and present, contemporary artists have created new works inspired by the exhibition’s themes.
This exhibition is ticketed. Entry is free for the Ashmolean Members.