Thursday, November 25, 2010

Animal Horn Symbolism

Animal horns have traditionally functioned as adornment, weaponry, and musical instruments, especially in combat and ceremonial ritual. Because of their military and political associations, horns have come to symbolize courage, honor, power, and strength. Battle helmets have long been crowned with horns, as have kings’ crowns. From ancient times, the hallowed horn has trumpeted declarations of war and victory, coronations, alarms, and calls to assembly. …

The generic term for “horn” in Hebrew is keren. In ancient Israel, the altar, representing God’s presence among the people, had horns on its four corners, which were often anointed with blood, much as the Israelite kings were anointed with a horn of oil. The phrase “horn of David” (keren David), refers to the Messiah, who like David will be anointed with a horn of oil.

Frankel, Ellen, and Betsy Platkin Teutsch. 1992. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc., pg 76

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