The Heart of Viana: Portuguese history and tradition.
Used as a symbol by Portugal, the surprisingly modern Heart of Viana now has its place around the necks of Hollywood stars. What does it represent and where does it come from?
★ The symbolism of the heart.
The Egyptians believed that the very essence of man and the seat of his supernatural life was in his heart.
The Hebrews made the heart the seat of all the faculties of the soul and intelligence.
The American Indians saw him as the sanctuary of the "Great Spirit".
In Europe, in antiquity, the heart was considered to be the centre of emotional or spiritual activity.
Throughout the world, in all religions, in all times, the heart has represented the most essential thing: the seat of the human soul and sometimes even the seat of God.
It was only from the Middle Ages that painters dared to replace the real representation of the heart with a symbol. In the 13th century, the first stylized hearts were found among the primitive Italian and German painters. The use of the symbol is then timid and alongside its real representation. - Illustration taken from the codex Manesse, a manuscript of lyrical poetry compiled and illustrated between 1310 and 1340.
★ The Heart of Viana (Coração de Viana)
-Illustration - View of the city of Viana do Castelo
In Portugal, the Heart of Viana has a religious origin. It appeared in the 18th century with the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Beyond its religious connotation, today it symbolizes life, love, fraternity, friendship... universal love.
Although it is called "Coração de Viana", named after the city of Viana do Castelo (Northern Portugal), it is rather from the Minho region.
On the border with Spain, Minho, the cradle of Portugal, is the source of many symbols: coloured scarves, the Barcelos rooster, Caldo Verde soup, embroidered handkerchiefs and tablecloths, and many folk dances and songs.
But among all these traditions, the beautiful gold jewellery craftsmanship is the most important.
In the form of pendants or earrings, these filigree Viana Hearts are worn by the women of the region (the Minhotas) with great pride.
Viana's hearts (In Portuguese: Coração De Viana) are traditional Portuguese jewellery, a lucky charm for brides who pass it on from mother to daughter. They are manufactured using the filigree technique. To know more about filigree jewellery, feel free to read our blog.
Their amazing modernity is linked to this reverse curve which gives them a very particular elegance.
Illustration - The Coração de Viana and its reverse curve.
★ One of the symbols of Portugal
Used as a symbol for many national campaigns such as the Euro football tournament in 2004, Viana's Heart has even found its place on the chest of Hollywood stars. Sharon Stone, for example, received a magnificent Golden Heart during a visit to northern Portugal and wears it with great pride.
In addition to gold, Viana's hearts also exist in other materials, such as silver, and even more modern ones, such as cork, but golden silver remains the most widely used material. As a symbol of Portugal, they are also used on many products to reinforce their authenticity.