An ideograph which caught the world’s imagination so strongly that as soon as you hear the word “heart” you visualize the red symbol of love…come 14th of February each year and there flows the much used ideograph…you see it everywhere…A valentine without the heart shaped symbol…doesn’t sound right..so we have hearts made of paper..plastic..glass..chocolate….gold…you name it and you have it…the latest…digital hearts…the infamous emoticons…
The origin and history of this metaphorical symbol of love can be traced back to “Silphium” which was a fennel plant grown during ancient times. It was grown and used by the Greeks as a spice and medicine and rarely as a means of birth control..the connection lies in the seed of this plant which resembles the modern ideograph of the heart. Though there are many other theories regarding the origin of the heart symbol, the fact that the real heart also looks like the symbol with a dent in the middle makes the ideograph more relevant. Symbolically till the beginning of the 15th century the “heart symbol” was always represented upside down..subsequently it changed to its present form, remaining so since then…and being widely used as a means of communication for conveying the emotion of love and affection….
“….I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart…”
Sang the world famous songwriter Sting and rightly so…the digital world has changed the shape of the heart in so many ways that you are sometimes left crooning…but that’s not the shape of my heart…
Classic Red Heart:
A classic love heart symbol used for expression of love.
A heart with vibrations/ movements symbolizing the beating heart.
A smaller heart inside a slightly bigger heart which is again inside a larger one, showing the growing heart.
Heart with an Arrow
A heart pierced with an arrow like the one Cupid, the God of love shoots.
Two hear ts..one slightly smaller in size showing that love is in the air.
Heart with a Ribbon
A heart shaped box tied with a ribbon signifying a gift.
Hearts of different shades with different meanings on different digital platforms….the list is never ending as well as evolving along with our greater needs of digital expression…as for a die hard believer of romanticism, I still wait for the day I find a “good heart” symbolising humanity and compassion!! Let’s take a pledge this Valentines Day to spread a little human love in the midst of these digital symbols of virtual love!
P. S : History says that the first ever depiction of the heart shape as a symbol of love was made in the 1250s in a French romantic manuscript called the “Roman de la Poire” (Romance of the Pear).