Ebony has been prized by humans for thousands of years; its dense structure, dark color and the ease with which it takes polish has made this hardwood a favorite material among craftspeople and artisans. It also possesses a number of interesting symbolic connotations.
The word ebony comes from the Greek word “eben”, meaning ‘stone’, and accurately describes this material (ebony is one of the few woods dense enough to actually sink in water). Because of its dark color, the Greeks associated ebony with death, melancholy and the Underworld; Hades, the god of the dead, was said to sit on a throne made of ebony.
In more recent centuries, ebony was the material commonly used to craft black piano keys. Since ivory was typically used to craft the piano's white keys, this gave rise to the phrase “ebony and ivory”, an expression with highly charged symbolism of its own.
- 661 Views
More symbols in Gemstones and Natural Substances:
In addition to plants, animals, and geographic features and phenomena, the natural world is home to a vast array of materials and substances that all carry symbolic meaning. This meaning may be rathe… read more »
More symbols in Greek Symbols:
Greek alphabet letters and symbols are used as math and science symbols. read more »