It’s time to give you some explanations. Why the Arils Bowl? Arils are the seeds of the Pomegranate (as you can see on our home page) and we choose this image of a bowl full of arils because for us it was the perfect way to look at the world and at the project we had in mind. We see the world as a big Pomegranate full of seeds of art and beauty which we are going to shell, aril by aril, in our personal bowl (the website itself).
But apparently this positive vision of the Pomegranate wasn’t just our point of view.
The name Pomegranate is derived from the Latin pomum (apple) and granatum (with seeds), it is considered native to the southwest and has been cultivated in the Caucasus since immemorial time. In Roman times, this fruit was known as the “apple of Carthage” Punic Granatum and from there the name has spread throughout Europe and then worldwide. Known around the world and grown everywhere, I consider it very interesting in historical, religious and cultural term.
The Pomegranate is present in many cultures and it’s always seen as something exceptional and divine.
Present in the coastal area of the Mediterranean prehistoric times, has been spread by Phoenician merchants with their international routes in all the major kingdoms of that time, from the Greeks and later by the Arabs.
In Egypt, its juice was added to beer to make it a magical drink that prevented and cured all evil, a sort of elixir of life.
An interesting anecdote says that in the history of mankind the fermentation of sugars and thus the transformation of sugars into alcohol borned from a man observing of the effect of the sugar on an elephant, which finding many pomegranates on the ground, although very mature, ate them relentlessly and soon began to stagger and not to walk in balance anymore. The man noticed this and realized that the sugars contained in the mature fruit were transformed into alcohol.
Going back to the history, in ancient Greece the plant was sacred to Juno and Venus and was the subject of many legends. Stories were told, in fact, that the pomegranate juice was god Dionysus’ blood and that, in his honor, Aphrodite, goddess of love, planted it on the earth. Also according to mythology this fruit was used as a bond of marital union instead of the current rings for of the marriage of Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Ceres, and Pluto.
Curious that even today, in Dalmatia, is customary for the groom to transplant a pomegranate from the garden of father in law in his own garden, as a wish for many children, considering the plant symbol of fertility.
Turkey brides hurled to the ground a mature pomegranate at the end of the wedding ceremony and the number of seeds that come out are the number of children they would conceive.
In China, the result represents the female sexual organ and recalls the eroticism and fertility.
That’s why from Roman times to nowaday many important family crests were depicted with pomegranates.
During the Renaissance painters often painted a pomegranate in the hand of the Child Jesus, referring to the new life brought by Christ through the passion and symbol of it for the color of its juice that draws blood. Among the most famous painters who were confronted on this issue noteworthy Donatello, Botticelli, Michelozzo and Piero della Francesca, to me the most fascinating is certainly Our Lady of Pomegranate.
Pomegranate seems to be very important for many of the most important religions.
Even the main sacred texts speak of it to stress the importance of fruit in history: in the Koran pomegranate is quoted to grow in the garden of heaven and elected by God between the good things created by him.
In The Bible in the book of Exodus before (Exodus, 28: 33-34) requires that images of pomegranates are applied on clothes rituals of High Priests, in the book of Kings then (Re; 7: 13-22) describes pomegranates rapresented on the capitals that were on the front of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.
Also according to the Catholic and Christian symbolism this plant is vital energy, humility, charity, the union of all the children of the church. In the Song of Songs the pomegranate gets a strong symbolic value: the beloved woman is compared to a garden full of pomegranate trees and love can be consumed just when these will bloom.
According to some scholars of Jewish theology the fruit of the Tree of Life in the garden of Eden was intended as a pomegranate, and is also among the seven fruits listed in the Bible (Deu.8: 8), as special products of the “promise land “.
Also in eastern religions Pomegranate is consecrated and the plant is revered, mostly in Hinduism where every part of the plant has always been used in Ayurveda medicine. One of the names of God Ganesha, a major Hindu deity, is “Bijapuraphalasakta”, the one who likes the pomegranate.
Pomegranate is now cultivated throughout the world, since it was introduced in the Americas by Spanish colonists in 1769 and is now intensively cultivated in Mexico and the United States mainly in California and Arizona, and is still a result of the miraculous healing properties.
Because of its importance in different cultures, ethnicities and religions, I’d say that this plant would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize or at least to be the symbol of union of peoples in these fool times…
Jacopo Zucchini & Linda Flacco