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Thistles and their symbolism

ChardonsIn French art and crafts, thistles are one of the oldest and most frequently represented motifs. In Russia, thistles are just a pungent herb, but in the European tradition, this evergreen and unpretentious plant has a specific meaning. In France, images of thistles can be found on earthenware clocks and vases (including the works of famous decorators such as E. Gallé), in silverware or crystal craft, in carpet patterns, and carved on jewelry. What is the reason for such a fervor in French culture for the image of the thistle? The fact is that the thistle is an ancient symbol of courage and sun protection.
In the Christian tradition, the thistle symbolizes the Passion of Christ and the Virgin Mary.
It is also the logo of the French city Nancy, and more globally, of the Lorraine region, symbolizing the Lorraine dukes' motto: "Gather thistles, expect prickles" ("qui s'y frotte, s'y pique"). In the Basque Country, southwest France, the thistle is called the "Flower of the sun" - an auspicious symbol. Is is also called "Witch's herb", being associated with ancient beliefs that wizards cannot look at the sun. This is why the thistle, symbol of the sun, serves as a home protector against evil spirits. Hence the representation of thistles on home furniture. Thistles also have a specific symbolism in other European countries. In Scotland, with the famous Knights' Order of the Thistle and in Germany, where blue thistles are considered a symbol of male fidelity.

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