In Western culture, the heart mainly symbolizes religious and worldly love, think of a heart with thorns or a valentine heart.
Besides the cross, the heart is one of the most used symbols in the world. The meaning of the heart as a symbol differs per culture. In the East it is mainly associated with intelligence and wisdom.
In Christian symbolism, the heart generally refers to Jesus ("the sacred heart of Jesus") and is found in the open chest containing a heart with a flame. There are also hearts with a crown of thorns or surrounded by sun rays. A heart crowned with thorns is the emblem of the Jesuits. A heart surrounded by flames refers to religious inspiration. A heart with three nails through it and surrounded by a crown of thorns is the Christian 'Sacred Heart'.
In the Bible the heart is the 'inner man': "But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his form, nor the height of his stature, for I have rejected him; for it is not as man sees, for man look on the outlook, but the Lord looks on the heart. " (1 Samuel 16: 7).
In funerary use, the heart appears on many gravestones as a symbol. As a general symbol for love and marriage, but also in combination with the Anchor and Cross which together represent the main Christian virtues: faith, hope and love. It also symbolizes the bond with Christ.
In de Westerse cultuur symboliseert het hart voornamelijk de religieuze- en wereldlijke liefde, denk aan een hart met doornen of een valentijnshart.