|"A Bell and a Pomegranate" oil on gesso board, 6 x 6 inches|
I have completed many little still life paintings lately and I hope to show them in a couple different venues within the next few months. I like this painting because it is one with a bit of symbolism behind it.
I sometimes like my still life paintings to mean something to me personally. The meaning of the pomegranate goes back to ancient times and there are many traditions and cultures that use pomegranates as a decorative symbol that embodies some noble meaning. In some traditions it is known as a symbol of goodness and love. For me the many seeds symbolize the kind deeds that we can sew among others in our life.
I first learned of the symbolism while reading the book of Exodus. In the Jewish tradition pomegranates and bells are paired together decoratively on garments and as architectural ornamentation. Some commentaries state that the seeds of the pomegranate represent the many commandments given in the Torah. The bell symbolizes attentive listening. In the ancient book of Exodus, God gave instructions for weaving a beautiful fabric decorated with pomegranates and bells on the hem of priestly garments. The bells would tinkle when the high priest entered the most Holy Place of the temple which was hidden by a curtain. Only the high priest could enter this area of the alter (also called the Holy of Holies). It was important that others could hear the bells from behind the curtain so that they would know the priest was alive and well and had not fallen without anyone's knowledge of him being there. The significance of listening for the bells of the high priest go beyond the practical interpretation because for many the high priest spoke and ministered on God's behalf.