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Fondazione Sorrento

Carving of cameos and corals

The origin of the coral has for centuries been shrouded in legend: Ovid's "Metamorphoses" and Pliny the Elder in his "Naturalis Historia" recognize the coral the same mythical genesis, the blood continued to drip from the severed head of the gorgon Medusa, is transformed coral. Its color is warm and alive, the marine origin, its ambiguous nature must have greatly impressed the first peoples of the Mediterranean basin that have thus begun to work it and make it known throughout the world. Do not plant, even if branched, as was discovered only at the beginning of the '700 Peissonnel Marseille doctor, even if not mineral petrified, but calcareous secretion produced by colonies of microorganisms of animal origin and therefore, the red coral of the Mediterranean has seduced all peoples who have come into contact, creating a special bond formed between these virtues and miraculous that over the centuries among peoples, all have given. Since ancient times coral magic and chase each other, intertwine mingling of superstition, superstitious rites, or just good luck, perhaps the most amazing aspect is that for all the peoples represented, from the Mongols to the Indians, from Chinese to American Indians, but also in Yemen, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, North Africa and Europe, over the centuries, the coral has been universally recognized the power of luck. The "Silk Road", which started two thousand years ago from northern China, across the steppes of 'Central Asia and arrived in the West, and the "spice route", connecting the deep south of the Arabian Peninsula with the Mare Nostrum, had been traversed in the opposite direction from merchants brave the Mediterranean to the Far East is pushed, using the red coral as a bargaining chip, and thus promoting his perfect assimilation with local custom. In fact, the coral has always been fascinated by its contradictory nature: non-mineral, even though petrified, even if non-vegetable-shaped tree, although non-animal-colored blood. Coral apotropaic powers were attributed to strong, superstitious, propitiatory and therapeutic skills to welfare, fertility, longevity, also ethnic jewelry, coral, added to the virtues of defensive element typical red auspicious power further enhanced by the particular forms, drawings, written by, of all their culture of origin. In summary, the jewel in many cultures is a "defense" as well as beautify, expresses the economic status of the person and especially the function of protecting the wearer in the most vulnerable of his life: birth, puberty, marriage. The coral has traveled and he has gone very far, interweaving with the local customs and becoming the protagonist of myths and legends, and distinctive element of people, but sometimes it is also returned to Italy, making a curious journey there and back. Sometimes you watch real phenomena of "twists and commercial", as in the case of Ukraine, where the coral was introduced by Polish Jewish traders and quickly became the ornament of choice for Ukrainian women. A trace of the foregoing, in the book of short stories by J. Roth, "The Merchant of corals," which tells the story of a jew merchant, who sold his precious corals to the Ukrainian peasant, but was ruined by the competition that began selling fake coral at prices much lower than his. Well, there was a curious circular flow of necklaces you work at Tower of Greek at the beginning of the last century, exported to Ukraine and returned after many years in Campania. When in the 80s of last century, young Jews were granted permission to emigrate, covers the entire coral of Ukrainian peasants to sell in Western Europe. The coral has crossed centuries and civilizations and continues to delight, because, as said the merchant Piczenik Nissen, alter ego of J. Roth, "corals take them all, rich and poor, elevate and adorn those below who is upward. You can bring in the morning, noon, evening and night, (...) when working and when he rests, in times happy and sad. "

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