Tokens of Friendship (2) – Friendship Tokens from the Renaissance to 19th Century America
Friendship Day celebrations occur on different dates in different countries. The first World Friendship Day was proposed for 30 July 1958. On 27 April 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30 as official International Friendship Day. However, some countries, including the USA and India, celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August.
When we care about a friend, it seems natural to have the urge to show it to them by means of a gift or token. This week I bring you Tokens of Friendship.
Today, I feature Friendship Tokens from the Renaissance Period to 19th Century America.
Read more on International Friendship Day
An Ancient Roman Coin
ANCIENT COINS AS GIFTS AND TOKENS OF FRIENDSHIP DURING THE RENAISSANCE
Many Renaissance humanists mention the giving or acquiring of ancient coins accompanied by poems or letters, or the receipt of them as mementoes from visitors.
Love & Friendship tokens
from early 19th Century USA
Cut-paper hand, woven paper hearts, hair and ribbons.
Pencil inscription says “When this you see, remember me”.
This is a great piece of American folk art and of 19th century women’s art.Circa 1830
Beginning in the early decades of the 19th century, women and young ladies kept memory books and friendship albums which they filled with paper and fabric cuttings of hearts and hands embellished with woven or otherwise arranged hair of friends and family. Woven hearts and hands embellished with hair were traded as 19th century tokens of love and friendship. The double lobed heart has been the symbol of love since antiquity, showing up in Cro-Magnon pictograms and early Egyptian paintings. European immigrants brought the heart as the symbol of romantic love to America where they added two other symbols, the heart and hand and the heart in hand which both symbolized the heart’s guidance of the hand’s actions.
Because hair does not disintegrate if it is properly protected, American women made it a symbol of abiding love as well as deeply felt loss. Mothers kept locks of their children’s hair and unmarried women often gave locks of their hair to suitors as tokens of love. Locks of sitter’s hair were often added to miniature portraits. A popular nineteenth-century women’s periodical described hair “. . . at once the most delicate and last of our materials. It survives us like love. It is so light, so gentle, so escaping from the idea of death, that, with a lock of hair belonging to a child or friend we may almost look up to heaven and compare notes with angelic nature, may almost say, I have a piece of thee here, not unworthy of thy being now.”
(Thanks to peggymcclard.com for all the information)