Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Origin of the Heart Shape

For the past days I received a box of chocolate crinkles, a chocolate pudding and a rose.
All of these stuffs have one thing in common - the heart shape.

I did a research before about the origin of the heart shape but never succeeded.
So I started defining its form and the way it curved with my own meaning.
Here's the mushy heart shape definition I came up with:

I was doing some blog hopping this afternoon and came across this online museum filled with very wonderful lithographs.

I keyed in "heart shape" hoping I can find very nice images of it.  Vintage looking images are really nostalgic to look at.

I found a number of heart shape images and chose these two to show you.

"Map" is in the shape of a heart, with fortifications, the "Outer Redoubt of Dread of Matrimony," surrounding the left and upper portions and avenues, gates, and bridges leading towards the "Citadel of Self Love" at the center, through the "Land of Romance," the "Land of Love of Money," the "Land of Love of Power," the "Land of Love of Ease," and the "Land of Economy." Other "geographical" features--rivers, lakes, a forest, a prairie, a morass, are also labeled.

"Map" is in the shape of a heart. Surrounding the Heart are the "COUNTRY OF SOLID WORTH," the "LAND OF OBLIVION," the "SEA OF WEALTH" and the "COUNTRY OF ELIGIBLENESS." Canals, Roads, a "Rail Road," and Rivers run between the "LOVE OF ADMIRATION," the "LOVE OF DISPLAY," the "LOVE OF DRESS," the "Region of SENTIMENT," etc. At the center is the "City and District / OF LOVE."

Upon seeing these litographs, my mind got curious again in finding out where did this heart shape came abound.

The heart () has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritualemotionalmoral, and in the past, also intellectual core of a human being. As the heart was once widely believed to be the seat of the human mind, the word heart continues to be used poetically to refer to the soul, and stylized depictions of hearts are used as prevalent symbols representing love. source: Wikipedia

Three theories from where the heart shape came from:

1.  The shape of the heart of the cattle. 

Well, at the least the Cattle's heart is much more similar, right?
Uh...still a NO.

2.  The shape of a woman's bust or buttocks, when the heart is turned upside down, it's the shape of a man's testicles.

Coat of arms of Bartolomeo Colleoni, showing inverted heart symbols

3. Shape of the seed of an extinct plant Silphium which was used as a medicine during the Ancient times, and also a contraceptive.  But this plant was also mainly used as an abortifacient - a chemical that induces abortion.  

In this medieval image, a midwife prepares a pennyroyal mixture for a pregnant woman.

This plant was so greatly consumed (for whatever reason may it be) that it even became a stamp for a coin during that time!


Having finding out the suppose history of the origin of the heart shape, I therefore conclude that I would rather accept the theory that came into my mind even though it's too cute and passionate.  

Whatever the TRUE origin is, I hope this heart shape will symbolize more good things to man, than a symbol of shallow love and passion itself.

BY THE WAY, I think this is the contemporary version of the shape of the heart:   

 <3  less than three   (jejejejejeje) 

One heart definition from the Bible though before I end this post:

"Our hearts lie. Something can "feel" right and be completely wrong. So don't just follow your heart, YOU GOTTA LEAD IT."

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