Ceramic pomegranates: Eternal life in the clay
The pomegranate is probably one of the most ancient symbols in the world, and it has been used by many cultures in the past. Because it is a symbol with a lot of meaning and great visual impact, it has become one of the most suitable motifs for artisans and ceramic artists.
Pomegranates are a common symbol in the Armenian culture, but they also make an appearance in other cultures. The pomegranate symbolizes many things, including fertility and abundance, as well as being a powerful symbol of the biblical Garden of Eden. Pomegranates are also shown to be a powerful symbol of protection. The fruit can ward off evil and witchcraft, and is the symbol of the goddess Isis. In Ancient Egypt, the pomegranate was associated with the goddess Hathor, who is the protective goddess of motherhood. The pomegranate was also associated with the goddess Aphrodite and the goddess Demeter, who is the goddess of fertility.
1) Depictions of pomegranates in the tomb of Nakht ( T T 52), image: Thierry Benderitter 2) Female Troubadour with Saz Page from the M6288, Horomos, 1211 AD 3) Pilgrim flask decorated with peaches and pomegranates, Ming Dynasty, 1st half of 17th century
Pomegranate played a major role in the art of one of Armenia's most influential film directors - Sergei Parajanov. In his films, the pomegranate is not only a symbol of Armenia, but also the embodiment of beauty.
Parajanov was an artist who was ahead of his time. He took an ancient symbol and gave it new life by inspiring others to use it in their own artwork.
Sergei Parajanov and photo from the Color of Pomegranates (1968)
Many sculptors, painters as well as ceramic artists became a pioneer in their fields by their own way of interpreting pomegranates. In the mid-90s Ruben Stepanyan was the one who started a line of huge ceramic pomegranate revolution in Armenia. Why revolution? Because after his cooperation with the Sergei Parajanov Museum craftsmen all over Armenia started to make ceramic pomegranates too and stores and galleries were filled with this magical symbol of life.
Reach red color and playful shape of the pomegranate crown made Stepanyan's pomegranate the best-interpreted ceramic in the local art scene.
1) Ruben Stepanyan 2) Pomegranate by Ruben Stepanyan 3) Tonino Guerra with the pomegranate made by Ruben Stepanyan
Currently, Stepanyan family together with Gishyan family is turning the ancient tradition into modern art, they make each product by their own hands, using only natural and available resources. They always, from the very beginning of their professional activity, followed the path of creation and innovation. Therefore, Armenian pomegranate is alive, it can be used for various purposes and will be a perfect decoration for the interior.
More than 25 years of ceramic pomegranate tradition have been kept till the present, and saved its primary style and color by Stepanyan and Gishyan families.
1) Ruben Stepanyan throwing a pomegranate on the pottery wheel 2) Pomegranates by Stepanyan and Gishyan family 3) Mihran Stepanyan throwing a pomegranate on the pottery wheel
It got a new accent after Alina Gishyan moved to Croatia. The quality is always at the highest level. Pure gold is used for painting pomegranate seeds, and some red and white pomegranates also have edges adorned with gold. All pomegranates in Alina’s collection are unique and handmade on the pottery wheel. No two are alike.
Pomegranates by Alina Gishyan
Turquoise, blue and white dominant colors of the pomegranates are reflecting the view of the Croatian seaside. ˝My pomegranates are alive. I never sketch or plan their final look. They chose how to look and where to be, it was meant for them to appear in Croatia˝- says Alina Gishyan. Shifting between Croatia and Armenia, Alina’s works are symbolic and remarkable, with the aim to connect these two countries through art.
Pomegranates by Alina Gishyan
The mission of every artist is to spread beauty and love, and these families and individuals are doing that by filling the world with the exquisite energy of pomegranate.
Whether you're in a gallery, a museum, or your own home, art comes alive and requires an owner to think about it. Its ability to thrive depends on the amount of attention it receives.