If in the last article we were talking about the symbol of the Horezu ceramic- the rooster, today we will discover other representative symbols and more specifically, the phytomorphic (plant-form) symbols, particularly“the tree of life”.
The phytomorphic decorations constitute an important group: from leafs to trees, an entire vegetal world finds its place on the ceramic dishes. The flower occupies the central place on the dishes, while the leafs, the flower buds, the corn, the grape, the wheatear, the oak leaf, the acorn etc. occupy secondary places and they are positioned on the edges of the dishes.
“The Tree of Life” holds a special status, and its image differs from one creator to another. The tree of life symbolizes life, fertility, perpetuation, regeneration, the victory of life or the dream of the “youth without old age and life without death”.
In Romanian popular art, the tree of life has three different depictions: Thracian-Dacian, Hellenistic and Iranian. If the Thracian-Dacian pattern is depicted through a fir of different shapes (fir branch, fir leaf), we can’t say the same thing about the other two depictions.
The fir is constantly shown on the edges of the plates, while the tree of life is always centrally positioned, often times individually or accompanied by subordinate elements: roosters, grass, flowers etc. Combining the fir with a triptych or cross is an ornamental composition transmitted from the Christian art that is rarely found in the medieval pottery or even in the popular one, revived today in the expressive plastic representations.
Regardless of the style of representation of the tree of life, the images depicted on the ceramic dishes are beautiful and natural, bursting with color and robustness and contribute to the differentiation of theHorezu ceramicfrom other types of ceramic.