双语阅读:为什么情人节爱心不是心脏的形状?

subtitle 中国日报网02-12 10:39 跟贴 1045 条
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Love is in the air this month, and images of two-lobed hearts are all over everything: candy, cards, decorations, you name it. That the heart is symbolic of love and passion isn't surprising—ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, including Aristotle, thought the organ was the center of all emotions. Why the heart symbol you see everywhere in February doesn't look anything like an actual human heart, though, is a little less clear.

情人节前夕的空气中弥漫着爱的味道,糖果、卡片、装饰物上,随处可见这种心形图案。用心来代表爱情和激情并不令人意外,包括亚里士多德在内的古希腊和罗马的思想家认为心脏是一切情绪的发源中心。但为什么你在情人节前夕看到的心形象征图案一点也不像人类的心脏呢?这就比较难说清楚了。

The symbol goes at least as far back as the 1400s, when it appeared on European playing cards to mark one of the red suits, though it may even be older than that. The shape is pretty much a mystery, though. There are a few different hypotheses to explain it, but none of them have been confirmed.

这一心形象征要追溯到15世纪,当时这种红心作为其中一种花色出现在欧洲纸牌上,不过心形的历史也许更悠久。心形的起源还真是挺神秘的。关于它的起源,有几种假想,但这些假想都还未得到证实。

One suggested origin for the symbol is that it comes from the ancient African city-state of Cyrene, whose merchants traded in the rare, and now extinct, plant silphium. The plant was used to season food, but doubled as a contraceptive. A silphium seedpod looks like a valentine's heart, so the shape became associated with sex, and then with love.

一种假想指出,心形象征源于古代非洲城邦昔兰尼,那里的商人贩卖一种罕见的现今已经绝种的串叶松香草。这种植物过去用来给食物调味,也可用于避孕。串叶松香草的心皮看起来就像情人心,于是这种形状就和性爱乃至爱情关联在一起。

Another possibility is that the shape is a crude representation of a pubic mound, the vulva, a pair of breasts, buttocks, or a pair of testicles. It may even have come from a poor attempt at drawing an actual heart. A lousy artist, an inaccurate description of the subject, or a malformed model all could have led to that shape.

另一种说法是,心形是阴阜、阴户、一对乳房、屁股或一对睾丸的粗俗象征。这种形状甚至可能只是因为想画心脏却画得不像。技艺拙劣的艺术家、对心脏外观的不准确描述或畸形的心脏模型都有可能导致这种图案的产生。

The Catholic church explains the symbol as coming from a vision that Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque had, where the "Sacred Heart of Jesus"—associated with love and devotion by Catholics—appeared in this shape surrounded by thorns. But Alacoque didn't have this vision until the late 1600s, well after the symbol was already documented. This makes it the unlikeliest of origin stories, but the church's frequent use of the shape was probably a driving factor in popularizing it as a symbol of love.

天主教会解释说,这种心形象征来自圣玛格丽特·玛丽·阿拉克克的一个幻象,她看见“耶稣的神圣心脏”——在天主教里与爱和奉献有关——被荆棘环绕着以这种形状出现。但是阿拉克克直到17世纪晚期才有这一幻象,而在此之前早就有了关于这种心形象征的记载。所以这个起源故事最不可能是真的,但是天主教堂对这种心形的频繁使用很可能促使它作为爱情的象征广泛流传。

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