Symbolism of 5 fruits & vegetables in design, 2020


I am always fascinated to know the provenance of objects and design. When you scratch the surface it is amazing what you can discover. 

What does the pineapple symbolize?

Antique botanic art pineapple

Sweet, spiky, and tropical, what does the pineapple represent? Pineapples have been inspiring decorative arts for centuries and it may come as a surprise that they were on trend during the mid 1700's!

Vintage bar cart with pineapple ice bucket

Originally they were a symbol of royalty and wealth - an exotic fruit imported across oceans to the homes of the upper class. They were cultivated in glass houses in the late 18th century and soon after became available to the general public. 

Mauro Manetti 1970s pineapple ice bucket Italian silver

1970's Mauro Manetti pineapple ice bucket

Today they represent hospitality and still inspire the design of fabrics, lamps and other decorative pieces.

What does the artichoke represent?

Artichoke botanic art illustration

Artichokes are an ancient vegetable that are full of symbolism. Artichokes have a tender heart at their core which is protected by strong layers of leaves - lovely characteristics that may be interpreted in a myriad of ways! 

Freddotherm ice bucket artichoke 1970's Swiss

Freddotherm artichoke ice bucket

They represent hope, peace and prosperity.

What is the symbolism of the fig? 

Fig botanic art

There is no doubt that the fig is a biblical fruit - one thinks immediately of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Fig wall paper bathroom with gilded mirror

They are considered a sacred fruit and a symbol of peace and abundance. The seeds represent fertility, understanding, knowledge and faith.  

Artisan French pottery Fig salad bowl with garlic grater

Artisan salad bowl with fig, leaf and garlic grater

Their plump green and purple skins and blushing pink interior make them a designers dream! 

What do melons represent?

Still life 17th century fruit RUOPPOLO, Giovanni Battista

Melons have been historically associated with luxury, wealth, creativity and gluttony. This still life by Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo dates to the 17th century - isn't it amazing to see how the fruit has evolved?

Silver melon sculpture 1970's

A silvered melon sculpture

For the Chinese, melons have a beautiful meaning - symbolizing family unity - "they hold out the wish that the family will, like the moon, stay round, large, whole, and also united", according to Flavour & Fortune.

What do bananas symbolize?

Antique botanical art banana

Sigmund Freud wasn't alone linking the phallic shape of a banana with reproductive organs!
Banana palm wallpaper classic interior

Whichever way you look at it bananas and their huge fronds have featured in the design world for centuries and more recently with tropical prints on fabrics and wallpaper.  

Gold banana ornaments

A collection of six banana ornaments 

Explore our collection of unique vintage, artisan and antique wares exclusive to Chez Pluie. 

Image credit: Ananbo, Heidi Willis, Scientific Illustration, Giovan Battista Ruoppolo (Wikipedia), Rawpixel, Sheknows.com, Katieconsiders.com, Pinterest and Chez Pluie.

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1 comment


  • Sabine Hoysyed

    J’adore! Send me more stylish decoration and it’s symbolism when it applies as for artichoke in a 16th century painting of Mary Tudor. Not even the local guide knew about it: merci! S H


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