Red coral

The red coral has always been a positive symbol: its vivid and intense color has always been combined with that of blood and, for this reason, it symbolizes life and is considered a powerful protective amulet and good luck charm.
Since prehistoric times, this magnificent natural element has been clothed with a rich symbolism and many legends have flourished around it.

Already in the Neolithic age was used as an amulet: various fragments have been found in the burial places. With the passage of time, coral has also been attributed therapeutic and even magical powers, which have meant that it was used both as an ornament and as a lucky charm and even as a drug.

In ancient Egypt coral , in the form of scarabs and amulets, was included in the funeral kit, to accompany the deceased in his new life, while the coral dust was scattered on the fields to propitiate the crops.

For the Greeks and Romans, coral was a medicine; for the latter it was also a powerful protective amulet for newborns.

This custom has been handed down over time: for centuries, in fact, newborns have been given coral, which, according to tradition, keeps away from malignant influences , diseases and is even able to relieve the pains of teething.

This is also testified by countless works of art, especially Renaissance, which depict cherubs and infants wearing coral necklaces or pendants. In this case, the power of coral is also enriched by Christian symbolism, according to which it represents the blood of Christ, his Passion and Resurrection and therefore his double nature, human and divine.

A famous example of a work of Renaissance art that binds ancient tradition to Christian symbolism is the altarpiece by Piero della Francesca preserved at the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, which depicts the Baby Jesus in the womb of the Madonna: Baby Jesus wears a necklace made of spheres of coral with a sprig for pendant. But the healing power of coral was not reserved only for newborns: it was, in fact, used for the most disparate cases, from colic to viper bites, as a cure for sterility or pestilences.

The nature of coral has always intrigued man: the dispute between those who claimed it was a mineral and who, instead, a vegetable, lasted centuries, until reaching the 1700/1800, a time when coral was finally classified as belonging to the animal kingdom.
Not to mention the curiosity about its property of hardening in contact with the air, which also gave it mythological origins: according to Ovid's Metamorphoses, coral originated from the contact of some algae with Medusa's severed head, as if the petrifying power of her gaze had been transferred by contact.

Today perhaps the coral has lost this mythological aura and its healing and magical powers, but it always remains, in the image collective nario, a precious amulet, a powerful good luck charm, especially in the form of a horn, as the Neapolitan tradition wants.

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