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  • We use this every day as a stand-in for love and the human heart.

  • But it doesn't really look like the real thing.

  • Zackary Crokett at Priceonomics has looked into the history of this.

  • He says that there are relics resembling the heart shape from 3000 BC, but these shapes stood for ivy or fig leaves, not the heart.

  • It wasn't until several centuries later that the heart became a symbol representing "love".

  • But the problem, was they didn't really know what the heart looked like,

  • partially because of the Catholic Church prohibited autopsies.

  • So, when artists tried to draw the heart as a symbol of love, like in this French manuscript from 1250, it looked like this.

  • By the time detailed anatomical drawings appeared, like those of Leonardo Da Vinci in the early 16th century, the simplified symbol had already taken root.

  • It became a popular image in Catholic symbolism as well as secular things like decks of cards.

  • Eventually, New York City's 1977 campaign turned the heart symbol into a verb.

  • "I love New York," replacing the word "love".

  • Now it's used in everything romantic:

  • Valentine's Day cards, emojis, chocolate.

  • But you can also find it in video games, on twitter, and in ads for heart-healthy food.

  • It might be a poor likeness for the human heart, but that's what makes it such an enduring and versatile symbol.

We use this every day as a stand-in for love and the human heart.

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B2 US Vox symbol catholic love looked fig

How the heart became ♥

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    Carol Chen posted on 2019/03/02
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