Early use of the hamsa has been traced to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) as well as ancient Carthage. A universal sign of protection, the image of the open right hand is seen in Mesopotamian artifacts in the amulets of the Qāt Ištar/Inana. Other symbols of divine protection based around the hand include the Hand-of-Venus (or Aphrodite), the Hand-of-Mary, that was used to protect women from the evil eye, boost fertility and lactation, promote healthy pregnancies and strengthen the weak, and in the Buddha’s gesture (mudrā) of teaching and protection. In that time, women were under immense pressure and expectation to become mothers. The women’s upbringing was centered on becoming a mother as an exclusive role, and it indicated child bearing as necessary. In addition, it was also thought marriage was a sense of protection for both the man and woman.