|Cornucopia carved in wood|
The Horn of Abundance,
(in Latin cornucopiae)
The Horn of Abundance (Cornucopia) made in wood, as an ornament.
The Horn of Abundance is a symbol of abundance, wealth and food; a big horn-like tube full with fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts and other symbols, like coins. It comes from the classical antiquity. In our contemporary-western culture it does not have any other symbolism, but in North America it is mainly associated with Thanksgiving
|Statue in the gardens of Versailles|
Classical Mythology, The Cornucopia.
Classic Mythology offers multiple explanations for the origin of the Cornucopia. One of the best known explanations includes the birth and care of the infant Zeus, who needed to be hidden from his father Kronus to avoid being devouring. In a cave of Mount Ida, on the island of Crete, baby Zeus was cared a number of different divine attendants, including the goat of Amalthea, who fed him with her milk.
The infant Zeus, de future king of the gods, had unusual skills and strength, and when playing with his nanny (Amalthea), he accidentally broke one of her horns. He gave the horn a very special power: the horn would fill with anything that his owner would wish. Later, the horn was given to the daughters from the king and from that moment the horn became a symbol of abundance.
The one, who possessed it, would never suffer hunger.
|In the gardens of Versailles|
In another myth, the horn of abundance was made when Heracles (Roman Hercules), who wrestled with the god of the rivers Achelous, and during the fight Achelous wrenched off one of his horns; River gods were sometimes depicted as horned. The naiads (nymphs) took care of the horn and filled it with fragrant flowers. Later, the goddess of abundance Copia took the horn as her possession, giving it the name of cornucopia.
|Heraldry and two cornucopia as an ornament | Streets of Heidelberg (Germany)|
The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek and Roman gods, particularly those related with harvest, prosperity and spiritual abundance, such as personifications of the Earth (Gaia or Terra) the nymph Maia and Fortuna.
The uses and Symbolism of the Horn of Abundance (Cornucopia)
In the modern interpretation the Horn of Abundance is typical hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket, filled with various kinds of festive fruits and vegetables.
In North America, the Cornucopia is associated with Thanksgiving and harvest. The Horn of Abundance is also the name of an annual Wine and Food Festival held in November in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.
|Great seal of North Carolina|
Two cornucopias are shown in the flag of the state of Idaho. The Great Seal of North Carolina shows the figure of Liberty –standing- and Plenty –setting down- with a Horn of Abundance in her left hand.
Colombia, Panama, Peru and Venezuela all have a cornucopia in their arms shield.
The Cornucopia is also often used as a symbol in the heraldry.
|Great seal of Idaho|
The Cornucopia as ornament.
Making a Horn of Abundance in wood, stone or clay.
In my many visits to museums, castles or antiques fairs, I have encountered very often with decorative ornaments in architecture, or as an ornament, or in stone vases, statues or fountains.
In furniture and joinery the Horn of Abundance can be produce as a decorative element in a composition of ornaments, used in the wood paneled walls or sculpture boiserie (carved wood paneling) of interiors. The thickness of the ornament in a boiserie is always greater than in the furniture’s from Liege.
Therefore, it is easier to create a Cornucopia in wood, in a composition with depth and character. Because the Horn of Abundance requires a minimum thickness of wood, and in order to allow the character of the ornament to show off, they will be present more frequently in the form of a crest or pediment (fronton) in furniture.
So, it is an ornament, which, when you really begin to pay attention, is use very much in the ornamentation and in the most varied applications.
Translation Lis Alvarado
|Two horns of Abundance carved in wood and gilded | Versailles|
|Cornucopia and the figure as part of a cabinet, Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris|
|A horn of Abundance with flowers | Gardens of Versailles|
|Carving a horn of Abundance | The cornucopia as ornament|
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