Currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, An Enduring Motif: The Pomegranate in Textiles (through February 21) is a small exhibition of works from the museum’s permanent collection that spans a remarkably diverse range of techniques and geographic regions including the 18th-century French block-printed cotton fabric shown here. The pomegranate bears many symbolic associations—from the Greek myth of Persephone to the Jewish belief that it contains 613 seeds that correspond to the commandments of the Torah to its role in Buddhist tradition as a fertility aid—making it an especially abundant decorative device that today can be found on a number of antique furnishings and accessories. Keeping an eye out for a prominent motif is a great way to start building a collection, and below is just a small sampling of antiques that can be found by searching the inventories of websites like 1stdibs, Rubylane, and Trocadero.
Pomegranate, Plate 481 from vol. 3 of Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz by Prof. Dr. Thomé, Germany, 1905 (St. John’s Art and Antiques); French gilt bronze chandelier with pear and pomegranate pendants, 19th century (Candice Barnes); Fortuny fabric panel, 20th century (Southall); Painted and gilt wooden bed with pomegranate finials, c. 1765-85 (L’Antiquaire & The Connoisseur); “Pomegranate” transferware platter, T.G. & F. Booth Potteries, Staffordshire, c. 1880 (Aesthetic Movement Transferware); “Pomegranate” painted tole canister (one of a set of six), American, 19th century (Kensington House Antiques); Chinese silver pomegranate box (2ezr); and “Pomegranate” Vine pattern dessert knives (set of twelve) by Tiffany & Co., c. 1880 (Lauren Stanley Silver).
Know any other sources for vintage and antique pomegranates? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!
Top image: Textile fragment, France, c. 1760. Block-printed cotton plain weave; 28 x 40 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; purchased with funds contributed by Mrs. Alfred Stengel, from the Henri Clouzot Collection, 1929.