Let’s explore the heart shapes in arts and crafts.
It is not clear where this shape we all are familiar with came from.
Ancient Greeks liked to use heart-shaped leaves in their vase
decorations. There was a plant Silphium commonly used as a contraceptive
in ancient Egypt which seeds were heart-shaped and even decorated state
coins at some point. Some people suggest that the heart shape is
derived either from parts of human body or from the shape of human heart
itself. At the end, it doesn’t really matter.
As a symbol of love, the heart shape started to be used in the Late Middle Ages.
It was widely explored in Folk art, especially Dutch, Mexican, German
and Polish (e.g. papercuts), Welsh (lovespoons), Irish (Claddagh).
Today this symbol continues to evolve. For example, there is the
UNODC’s Blue Heart Campaign against Against Human Trafficking, there are
plenty of modern celtic knot style heart tatoos, then there are the
Polyamory hearts with either the eternity symbol or the “love outside
the box” one, peace and love symbols merging together, etc.
As it often happens, I’ve also created a Pinterest board dedicated to heart symbols: http://www.pinterest.com/artishfolk/know-your-hearts/