Where Does the Heart Shape Symbol Come From: History of the Heart Shape

Where Does the Heart Shape Symbol Come From: History of the Heart Shape

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The heart shape symbol is the most romantic symbols around the world. It’s used on cards, in TV, and even in video games. Just one look at it and people understand it to mean love and attraction.

But a heart isn’t exactly the curved shape that the symbol is. A real heart is a mass of muscle and valves that is more of an lump than anything else. It’s not romantic, is it?

heart shape symbol history

Well, I started thinking about this a few days ago when my daughter came home to tell us that she’d learnt to draw a heart. She then showed us this oval shaped mess that really wasn’t the heart that we were expected. After admitted that she really struggled to do a heart – and we showed her a quick way of drawing one – I started thinking that really the blob was a heart. It’s a heart from the chest.

So, where does the heart shape symbol come from?

I know it’s Trimmings Thursday but with it being so close to Valentine’s Day, I wanted to focus on the history of the heart shape instead. After all, hearts do make decorations for a lot of Valentine’s Day parties and events, right? Technically they are all about decorations.


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Nobody Really Knows the Definitive History of the Heart Shape

I wish I could give you a straight answer about the shape of the heart. It’s widely recognized but there are so many debates over where the shape came from.

Just today on LBC,I heard two versions. One person said that the shape is two real hearts sewn together – yes, I can picture out that would work and it links to the romance of combining two hearts. A second person said that the heart was traditionally the other way round with the point at the top. The curves represented a woman’s buttocks.

There have also been theories that the curve and dip represent the breasts and also a connection to ivy leaves. Why ivy? Because ivy has always been associated with fidelity.

History Today also shares the theory that the heart shape was born from the silphium seeds, which was used as an early form of birth control. The theory is that the seed was connected to love and the seed’s shape was very close to what the heart shape is today. The two just worked together over time.

The Heart Shape Symbol Is Likely Due to Drawings Based on Text

Long before we had CT scans and other medical technology, people had to draw pictures based on descriptions in books. When it was noted that the heart had three valves and a dip in the middle, people started drawing the shape that we now know as a heart.

This is very likely true. Of course, things have now changed and we know the true shape of the heart. It’s just very difficult to get symbology out of people’s heads.

Over time, the heart became a sacred part of Valentine’s Day symbols, especially during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the first ever depiction of a heart for love was back in the 1250s.


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I guess we’ll never really know the history of the heart shape. There are theories but we don’t have a concrete answer for why we draw the heart shaped symbol when there is no representation to the organ that keeps our blood pumping.

Have you heard other theories of the heart shape symbol? Do you know other elements of the history? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out Valentine’s Day decorations for the home or bedroom and make next Tuesday a day/night to remember.

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