Every hand-carved Welsh love spoon is a personal symbol of affection, and this is perhaps best illustrated by the different types of symbols that are commonly seen carved into its handle.
One of the most popular symbols is the dove, a white, small and stout bird that is one of the longest and most enduring symbols ever seen, as well as one that transcends different regions, countries, creeds and ideologies as a symbol of peace, love and purity.
For many people, this connection has a biblical origin; in Genesis 8:8-11, Noah sent a dove out to see if the waters had receded, with the dove finally bringing back an olive branch (or leaf, depending on the version) symbolising rebirth.
It was a symbol used by early Christians as a symbol of peace and new life, often associated with the act of baptism, particularly when Rome adopted Christianity as its official religion.
Interestingly, some theories suggest that the dove’s association with peace came from the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans, both of which used the olive branch as a symbol of the goddesses of peace Eirene and Pax, respectively.
As a result, when the Romans adopted Christianity, the olive branch symbolism transferred to the dove as well, often displaying both of them in tandem as a symbol of peace from that point on.
By the fifth century AD, St Augustine of Hippo had standardised the symbolism of the dove and in the centuries since then this symbol has solidified to the point that the dove is seen as a symbol of peace, purity, new life and love ever since.
One of Pablo Picasso’s most celebrated and iconic works is La Colombe, which translates into English simply as Dove. For Mr Picasso, it was a symbol not only of peace but also of his father, José Ruiz y Blasco, who taught him to paint.