Jesse Brauner

The cornucopia is an interesting symbol; from its basic appearance down to the smallest detail, no two specimens are exactly alike. At the same time their symbolic meaning (which doesn’t take much imagination to figure out) is always the same, wherever and whenever they appear.

Also known as the “horn of plenty”, the cornucopia is an easily recognizable symbol of abundance, fertility and, to lesser extant, peace and good fortune. While individual examples vary widely, the basic form of the symbol- a horn-shaped vessel filled (sometimes overflowing) with all manner of fruits, flowers, grains and vegetables- is unmistakable. The vessel also possesses symbolic meaning in its own right; since the horn is phallic-shaped but hollow at the same time, it combines sexual imagery of both male and female, which further ties into notions of fertility.

The cornucopia has its roots in ancient Greek mythology. As an infant, the god Zeus was nourished by the she-goat Amalthea, and the first cornucopia was created from one of her horns. In its role as a fertility symbol, the cornucopia is also associated with Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, as well as Dionysus, the god of wine.