For my subject work, I have been looking at fruit, veg and other plants derived from nature. By doing close studies/sketches I am finding patterns within, and some erotic connotations. I love the pomegranate, the colours are vibrant and its secret sweet seeds are gorgeous to taste I decided to look at the symbolism of the pomegranate.
Ancient Egypt: Ancient Egyptians regarded the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity & ambition. According to the Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical writings from
around 1500bc Egyptians used the fruit for the treatment of tapeworm and other infections.
Ancient Greece: In ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was known as the fruit of the dead and believed to have sprung from the blood of Adoris. Here I have included Rosetti’s painting ‘Persephona’ which depicts persephona holding the fatal fruit
Ancient Isreal & Judaism: Pomegranates were known in Ancient Isreal as the fruits which the scouts brought to Moses to demonstrate the fertility of the “promised land.” It is traditional to consume pomegranates on Rosh Hashana because, with its numerous seeds, it symbolises fruitfulness. Also it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 mitsvot or commandments of the Torah. Jewish scholars believe the pomegranate was the forbidden fruit in the garden of eden.
Europian Christian Motifs: Pomegranates continue to be a motif often found in Christian religions decoration. the fruit broken or bursting open, is a symbol of the fullness of Jesus, suffering and resurrection. To the Left i’ve included a painting by Sandro Botticelli – Madonna of the pomegranate 1487
Qu’ran: According to the Qu’ran, pommegranates grow in the Gardens of Paradise and is mentioned in the Qu’ran three times.
Armenia: The pomegranate is the symbol of Armenia and represents fertility, abundance and marriage. The fruit played an integral role in a wedding custom widely practised in Ancient Armenia: A bride was given a pomegranate fruit, which she threw against the wall breaking it into pieces. Scattered pomegranate seeds ensured the bride for future children it was customary to put the fruit next to the bridal couple during the first night of marriage. The symbolism of the pomegranate is that it protected women from infertility and protected a man’s virility.
Iran and Anicent Persia: The pomegranate was the symbol of fertility in ancient Persian culture. Even in today’s Iran the pomegranate implies love and fertility.
India: The pomegranate symbolises prosperity and fertility and is associated with both Bhoomideri (the Earth Goddess) and Lord Ganesha (the one fond of the many seeded fruit). The Tamil name maadulampazham is a metaphor for a woman’s mind. It is derived from, maadhu=woman, ullam=mind, which means as the seeds are hidden, it is not easy to decipher a woman’s mind. To the right is an image of the Lord Ganesha holding a pomegranate flower in his trunk.
The pomegranate in Ancient Chinese times was considered to be an emblem of fertility and numerous progeny. Pictures of the ripe fruit with seeds bursting fourth were often hung in homes to bestow fertility and bless the dwelling with numerous offspring.