heart hand tattoos

heart hand tattoos

heart hand tattoos

heart hand tattoos

Historians have been able to trace the heart symbol as far back as the time just prior to the last Ice Age. However, there isn’t any general consensus as to what it was supposed to mean.

Later, between 600 and 400 B.C., the people of Greece used the heart symbol to designate the musical instrument known as the lyre. It also became closely associated with Eros, the god of erotic love.

The most likely reason for our own Western association between the heart symbol and romantic love can be traced back to the North African city of Cyrene in the seventh century B.C. This city had become a major (and incredibly profitable) destination on the world trade routes because of a now extinct, heart-shaped seed that was a part of the fennel family.

But why were they harvested to the point of extinction; and what does that have to do with love?

Well, this amazing little seed (which was, quite literally, worth its weight in gold) had a very beneficial side effect – it aided as an all-natural, rather easily obtainable method of birth control. It can easily be assumed that – armed against the risk of yet another mouth to feed, amorous attentions could more readily be shared between couples. It’s easy to understand, then, the ready connection between both the shape and its modern interpretation.Upon the arrival of Christianity, the heart shape also began to take on a new religious significance. Early Christians, who were all fairly relient upon using symbols to codify their then heretical faith, used the heart to symbolize the virtue of charity, a word that most biblical translations have changed to love, in the brotherly fashion. Later, there would be the Sacred Heart, an image of a wounded heart, shining with a heavenly light which came to represent Jesus Christ & His love. It became very popular during the Middle Ages, but is still used prevalently today. It can also represent unity, salvation and peace.

But Christians didn’t in any sense have a monopoly on this sign. Aztecs, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Celts and Taoists all give the heart symbol its own special significance. The symbol also shows up in the Voodoo arts, where it represents Erzuli, the loa (which loosely translates to “spirit”) of love, beauty and purity. It also prevails in the cultural arts of the Asante people of Ghana, Africa. Adinkra, a hand-stitched and embroidered cloth that represented their cultural and spiritual beliefs, often used the heart symbol to show love. Whether done intentionally or not, the heart also closely resembles the Asante sign for wisdom.

From 1000 to 1400 A.D., the heart icon comes to the forefront of medieval heraldry (the insignias, crests, Coats-of-Arms and genealogical emblems) where it signifies both sincerity and clarity. It is also during this era that the heart symbol becomes intertwined with the myth and legend surrounding the Holy Grail. Believe it or not, the two items became so intertwined with one another that the earliest decks of playing cards substituted the symbol of the grail for the suit of hearts!

heart hand tattoos

heart hand tattoos

Source: tattoojohnny

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