Ancient Egypt may seem a strange place to start an article on Valentines Day, but there is a good reason for this. This blog explores the association of the heart with love and that in turn forms the central theme of Valentines Day.
It was recognised thousands of years ago that the heart was a very important organ. But it was not only believed to have a physical function but also an emotional one. The brain was not considered to harbour emotional feelings and it physical function was not understood. Therefore when the Egyptian’s undertook the process of mummification, the first thing they did was to remove the brain. Other organs such as the liver and stomach etc. were removed and placed in jars. The heart however was returned to the body, as its owner would need it in the after life. Though the physical function of the heart had ended, the emotional properties were thought to carry on even after death.
Though the true shape of the heart had been known for millennia the widely accepted depiction of a pointed base and two semicircular domes at the top was not associated with love until the middle of the 13th century. A French manuscript of around 1250 depicts a male on his knees presenting his heart (shown as a pine cone) to his lover. By the beginning of the next century the presenting of one’s heart as a token of love had taken on a religious meaning. In a fresco painted by Giotto, a virtuous woman hands her heart to Christ. The now commonly stylised heart for example, as found on playing cards emerged in the late 15th century.
So in recognising Valentines Day on 14th February the using of a heart to depict love will continue a centuries old tradition.
If you wish to continue this tradition we have several patterns which feature hearts, click the pattern title for pattern page:
1:12th scale girls heart jumper set
For miniature bears:
Teddy bear jumper and skirt pattern
For your human house:
Heart within a heart doily. Coaster from this pattern is shown at top of page.