A History of Hearts

 Photo by Paul Silverzweig, of a pictogram from before the last Ice Age.

Photo by Paul Silverzweig, of a pictogram from before the last Ice Age.

One of the numerous reasons I remain interested in doing what I do is there are so many things to learn. Each and every project feels like a new opportunity to discover and create something new. There are some things that will always remain though, one of which is the pool of various symbols that have been around longer than any of us have. Take the heart shape, for example.

(I’ve written about a bit of that history before.)all the way to 1,000-8,000 B.C.E., before the last Ice Age, when “Cro-Magnon hunters in Europe use the symbol in pictograms, though it remains a mystery exactly what meaning it held for them.”

There are also “several pieces of pottery going back as far as 3000BC [which] clearly show the unmistakable symbol.  However, in these instances, the symbol is noted to be a simplification of either a fig or ivy leaf, not a crude representation of the human heart, and seemingly, at least initially, not having anything to do with love.”

 From the 13th century French manuscript "Roman De La Poire"

From the 13th century French manuscript "Roman De La Poire"

 I have a habit of seeking out heart shapes wherever I go. Nature provides many examples!

I have a habit of seeking out heart shapes wherever I go. Nature provides many examples!

It’s hard to believe that the definitive origins of the symbolism are so elusive, especially in light of the fact that it’s currently one of the most recognizable symbols. It’s meaning has become synonymous with the actual human heart’s symbolism—where love is felt. And yet, the symbol has very little similarity to an actual human heart.

 Here's my 2017 Valentine creation.

Here's my 2017 Valentine creation.