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06 October 2011 @ 06:10 pm
Jun's Picture Symbolism (roses, hands, butterflies, ribbons, etc.)  
SPOILERS up to chapter 65

Jun's drawings are very detailed, and she puts a lot of clues into the pictures of things yet to come. I'm sure many of you are aware of these, but I thought I'd compile what I've noticed and what has been pointed out to me (ie: I'm not trying to take credit for any of this). I included some free-flowing theories among them, too, so tell me what y'all think!

EDIT: I have consolidated all this information and more onto my website. Please go HERE instead!! I won't be editing stuff into this entry anymore. (Although I am, of course, still here to discuss the symbolism.)

Prominent Patterns: flowers in general and roses in particular, colors, mysterious floating hands, ribbons & chains, cages, feathers, butterflies, skulls, crowns, crosses, pearls, curtains, stars, different-colored rabbits

Examples of Foreshadowing
The color insert of bandaged-eye Break sitting on top a mountain of skulls appeared in the Cheshire arc even though we don't know about his past as an illegal contractor until much later:

We've also seen this picture of Gilbert long ago:

(There appear to be bell flowers behind Gilbert - thanks, kae_ra! Bell flowers mean "gratitude," and might by symbolic of how very VERY grateful Gil is to be taken in by a Master. Crowns are symbols of immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, symbolic of honor or glory, glory of life after death. Also notice Lacie's grave and sword-wielding angels from 100 years ago in the background.)

He appears dressed in funeral clothing and sadly cradling a crowned skull. This is probably symbolism of his guilt and pain over not being able to protect his Master 100 years ago. Yet surely the skull is not Jack's, whereas Glen is King of the Baskervilles. And, sure enough, in the 2012 calendar, March is graced with Leo - Glen's reincarnation - wearing a nearly identical crown:

(The flowers around Leo appear to be Marigolds - thanks booksmacking! Marigolds are symbolic of grief, despair, and sorrow, which is certainly fitting for Leo. Source1. Source2. They are also a flower of the Leo zodiac sign! ^_^)

Mysterious Hands
Speaking of crowns, there is a masculine-looking hand reaching for the King on this chessboard (thanks dracilla112!):

(Chessboard is coming apart to reveal what looks like Barma historic records underneath. Could the Barmas be playing chess using everyone else? ...Or are these the torn pieces of Alice's memories?)

The crown of the King chess piece looks very similar to the two Glen crowns above. The chessboard theme of alternating color polarity is very prevalent in Pandora Hearts. The floor in Alice's room in Sablier and Alyss' room in the Abyss is also in a chessboard pattern, emphasizing her duality. Given the context of a chess game, it could also be interpreted as standing for two sides in a conflict. If Glen is the black King, then the black chess pieces might represent the Baskervilles and, sure enough, both Gilbert and Vincent are leaning against black chess pieces. Break, on the other hand, is the white Knight, representing both being on the other side of the conflict and alluding to his original illegally-contracted chain (also White Knight). He holds a black chess piece in his hand, possibly representing Gilbert as his pawn.

Or are the chess pieces being played by someone else? Both the hand reaching for the King of the Baskervilles and Break holding a Baskerville piece in his hand helps to illustrate the theme of hands as symbolic of connection, influence, and manipulation. Some of these hands even hold strings, hinting at a a puppeteering role. More on that later.

Oz has a pair of hands hovering behind him here:

(Note that Oz's eyes are blue... o.o ...blond hair/blue eyes are Nightray colors. Zai has worked with Duke Nightray, and had taken baby Oz someplace right after he was born. Okay, I'm not going there. And no, I haven't seen Zai wear a ring.)

Also note the blue roses in the foreground, and the yellow roses in the background (thanks, willingabyss!). More on that later. Anyway, they seem to be masculine hands, and the left hand has a ring on its index finger. Could they be Jack's hands, symbolic of him having an influence over Oz? Yet we haven't seen Jack wear a ring, have we? Oz is studying the Lacie melody. The Lacie melody and ringed hand appears again here:

This one also has a "dark" Jack with black roses, and Oz with white roses. More on that later. Despite the black & white chessboard theme of apparent conflict, I think that ultimately the black and white polarities in Pandora Hearts are destined for integration. This picture in particular looks like an elaborate Yin (dark/Jack) Yang (light/Oz) symbol with both polarities having a bit of the other and connected by a common flow. Just like Black Rabbit and White Rabbit may be Twins, in apparent opposition, but are also One, and ultimately want the same thing.

Jack here is caressing a feminine hand. Is it Lacie's? Alice's? Alyss'? I think it's Lacie's since the Lacie melody is so dominant in the background - which could be an indication of how much influence she has over all this.

Gilbert has a mysterious hand reaching for him too:

It's a female hand, so could it be symbolic of some influence on Gil by one of the Alices? Vincent did say that "everyone became weird because of Alice," and he specified Gil by name.

Roses & Butterflies
Another thing about the "dark" Jack pic... they have black roses. Jack usually has yellow roses (symbolizing "jealousy" in Victorian times, but "friendship" today):
(Note also the silhouettes of little Gilbert on Glen's side of the picture and little Vincent on Jack's side of the picture. And this is the picture for September of 2011, the month of the chapter we found out that Gilbert was Glen's servant! Amazing timing, Jun-sama! **** ALSO notice that while butterflies in Pandora Hearts - symbolic of the soul - tend to be overwhelmingly blue, the large butterfly on Jack's side of the picture is bright red. Could possibly represent that there's something unique about his soul.)

The only other time I recall him having black roses around him was the "drugged" Jack under dark Alice:

Jun loves her Victorian flower symbolism, and especially roses (Crimson Shell was all about roses too). Black roses are symbolic of death, hatred, and farewell. They're used at funerals but can also mean rebirth. In the picture above, it is dark Alice giving Jack black roses, likely symbolic of whatever she's so pissed off at him about. Him being unconscious and tied up, combined with Alice's domineering posture, makes me think there's some manipulation by her going on. The black roses in the picture suggest she's not just being horny but vengeful. You also see black roses of enmity(?) between Oz and Leo here:

So what would the black roses in the picture of Jack and Oz mean? A contrast with Oz's white roses? Funerary/rebirth roses for Lacie?

In the other picture of Oz studying the Lacie melody there are blue roses around him. It's a theme shared by dark Alice, Gilbert, and Vincent:

(Note that Alice has Black Rabbit in a cage and many skulls at her feet - why? The last time we saw somebody on a pile of skulls - Break - it was because he sacrificed people to the Abyss. Are they skulls of the people who died during the tragedy? This is another reason, along with the black rose picture, that I think Alice has some, possibly a lot of, responsibility for what happened 100 years ago. The skulls also appear on the bed in the black rose picture, but only 2 of them - Jack and Glen?)

Blue roses mean mystery or attaining the impossible. They are believed to be able to grant the owner youth or grant wishes (chain contracts??). In PH they are common to the three main players from 100 years ago (Alice, Gil, Vince, Oz/Jack). Oz, Gil, and Alice also have monarch butterflies (of death/rebirth?), usually blue, associated with them:

Pointed out by alicebunny115: By the way, I don't think that's a monarch butterfly in Oz's picture. It looks more like either tiger swallowtail butterfly, or a Ulysses butterfly (blue mountain butterfly), more than likely the later. They can be found in European countries, but are most common in Australia. :) Also, according to wiki answers, it is symbolism to "transmutation and the Dance of Joy. Metamorphosis, symbol of change, joy, and color. The blue butterfly is a wish-granter or malicious spirit"

(for Alice's butterflies, see pictures for Blue Roses above)

Oz shares the white rose symbolism of humility, purity, and innocence with Alyss and Lacie:

(see the picture of "Lacie" between Jack and Glen in Jack's yellow rose section above)

White roses could also mean "holy and spiritual union between the departed soul and God in heaven," thus used at funerals but also during weddings and births. (Thanks, willingabyss!) This certainly ties in with Pandora Hearts' theme of contact with the dead, death itself (the Abyss itself seems to double as an afterlife), rebirth, and love that transcends lifetimes.

White roses can also mean secrecy (thanks Howl!). Break is normally seen with lavender roses, but there is a picture of him with a single wilting white rose during the Yura's Mansion arc, probably representing him trying to hide his fading life-force (thanks aceofredspades!):

Ribbons & Chains
Jack has had two ribbons on his right hand so far. One in the picture of "drugged" Jack with dark Alice, and one in the picture of "dark" Jack with Oz:

In the picture from 100 years ago, during the Sablier tragedy, he has a red ribbon. In the picture of the present, he has a white ribbon. The female (Lacie?) hand has a matching white ribbon. Oz here has black ribbons on his left arm and right leg. He also has the same limbs wrapped in blue ribbons in the blue rose picture of him studying the Lacie melody.

What do ribbons mean? We've seen the theme of chains binding many characters in Pandora Hearts, and I think ribbons are a more subtle and versatile extension of that theme. In a very literal sense they represent being tied up. This could be elaborated into connection, manipulation, and/or control. Puppet strings. Is there a significance to loose ribbons versus tied ribbons? Do the colors matter? Red usually means passion, White can mean purity, Black... could mean a lot of things. The red ribbon tying up Jack's hand is accentuated by a black rose, possibly indicating that the passion it represents is a violent or vengeful one. Right and left hands are also important. Jack has his right, active, sword hand tied up. Oz has his receptive, passive hand wrapped.

But Alice herself is bound by red AND white ribbon to her twin (thanks aceofredspades!):

(Alyss on her own has black ribbons wrapped around her arms, throat, and torso (corset).)

And also has red ribbons tied to her legs (thanks wooper134!):

What is the difference between ribbons around arms and ribbons around legs? I would say that arms represent purposeful action whereas legs represent overall freedom and mobility, so ribbons on arms could represent restraint/influence/direction over the mind, and ribbons on legs could represent restraint/influence/direction over the body. Alice has lost a lot of control over her B-Rabbit self and power.

Gil has a blue ribbon wrapped all around his left hand - the Raven hand that seals B-Rabbit, which has been rather ineffectual as of late since Oz has been accessing B-Rabbit power on his own. This is one of the many reasons I think there's more to B-Rabbit power than we currently know. It's a power that overwhelms the personalities of both Oz and Jack, and might have aims of its own. (see picture of Gil in the monarch butterfly section above)

Note that Alice has a cage-like structure on her left leg in both the picture on the bed with Jack and in the red dress with Oz and Gil (thanks wooper134!). Whereas Alyss has the cage-structure on her right leg:

This brings in a "mirroring" aspect to the polarity symbolism, which you also see in Alyss' image in the mirror in the picture of Dark Alice over Jack, and elsewhere. It suggests that opposite ends of the spectrum - which on the surface appear to be in conflict - don't just contain the seed to give rise to each other such as in a Yin Yang, and don't just flow towards harmonious integration, but are also immediate (though inverted) reflections of each other.

Dark Alice with Jack also has cages along her right arm, and over her torso like a corset. More on cages later.

To further solidify the link between ribbons and chains, we have a picture of Oz and Gilbert being linked by a white ribbon from Oz's right hand to Gil's right hand:

(Also note that Oz is holding a white feather. More on that later.)

There are bands of tattered black and white ribbons around them, and here we see that there are chains underneath. Although I think the symbolism of ribbons is softer and more subtle than chains, they still may be akin to silk gloves that hide the steel chains of bondage.

And what of broken and unbroken chains that we see on the manga covers?
(Unbroken, Slightly BrokenVery Broken)
Volume 1: Oz - slightly broken.
Volume 2: Gilbert - unbroken.
Volume 3: Break - slightly broken.
Volume 4: Sharon - unbroken.
Volume 5: Vincent - very broken.
Volume 6: Lottie - slightly broken.
Volume 7: Jack - very broken.
Volume 8: Cheshire - slightly broken.
Volume 9: Echo - unbroken.
Volume 10: Glen - unbroken.
Volume 11: Reim - slightly broken.
Volume 12: Ada - unbroken.
Volume 13: Lily - unbroken.
Volume 14: Elliot - unbroken.
Volume 15: Rufus - unbroken.
Volume 16: Leo - no visible chains... o.o

Feathers & Wings
There's also a lot of floating feathers in Jun's artwork, but I'm not sure what feathers would mean, if anything. Maybe they're associated with symbolic flight or literal travel. At least we know that the black-feathered chains can create a path to the Abyss, so maybe black feathers are associated with Abyss power:

The feather Leo was stepping on in chapter 63 seems to have spontaneously turned from white to black. It seems to correlate with Leo's change from a diplomatic to a hostile mood:

And are we supposed to think that the feather on the ground actually changed color, or did Leo move before that and now there's Jabberwocky's instead of dove feathers on the ground? Does it matter if the feather literally changed color so long as the symbolism of the overall feather ambiance changing color remains?

But what are white feathers? Leo was talking about wanting to destroy the Will of the Abyss, and how the Abyss used to be a beautiful golden world before the Will of the Abyss went haywire when he stomped on the feather. Are white feathers representative of the harmony of the Abyss and Leo stomping it could represent the Will's disruption of it? Or is the white symbolic of the Will herself, and Leo's action symbolic of his desire to destroy it?

Jack is also accompanied by white feathers (thanks, Raemya!):

Indeed, white feathers are associated with the Vessalius household in general, and are given in acknowledgement of a Vessalius' coming of age:

The White/Black feather contrast between Vessalius and Baskerville is shown nicely here:

(There are also tints of blue.)

And yet the actual emblem of the Vessalius dukedom is two golden wings around a green gemstone (thanks ramylie!):

Jack wears this crest even 100 years ago, before the Sablier tragedy, so it predates the acquisition of the Griffon chain by Vessalius. Yellow and green are colors associated with Vessalius - in their hair, eyes, roses, clothing - but gold is the color of the harmonious Abyss. In the context of the Abyss, golden wings can represent the angelic wings of light that transport the disembodied soul through the Golden World. It might even be connected to the sword-wielding angels that Oz, Alice, and Gil saw in a memory from 100 years ago.

But what's green? If I were to wildly speculate, I'd say that green is a color of water, along with blue, and the Abyss itself is a very watery place. The Japanese word "aoi" could mean either "blue" or "green." Jack's green coat is often drawn with shades of blue, looking overall turquoise. Jack himself has been compared to water. If the green gem then represents the Abyss, and the golden wings wrap around it, it could be symbolic of the Vessalius in a kind of Psychopomp role - guides to the souls of the dead. However, this ventures into shinigami (death god) territory, and that is expressly given to the Baskervilles (the "Crimson Shinigami"). And besides, we have no knowledge of the Vessalius dukedom having anything to do with the Abyss prior to the Sablier tragedy, since Glen kept all the Abyss gates to himself. Hrm...

Blue is another color feathers in Pandora Hearts come in. Blue-feathered wings have appeared in Oz and Gil's hats, and have also been worn by Echo (who, despite being Baskerville, has white feathers around her):

We get the fullest explanation of blue feathers during St. Belligeron's Day: "This festival originated from the legend of the blue-winged angel, Belligeron, who fell in love with a human. In order to let her travel to earth safely, everyone wore clothes with blue feathers on them to help cover the true identity of the angel." Kinda odd to go out of the way to mention that. It's a day when "you can hide your identity under gorgeous clothes, and spend the day as someone else," and feathers have been linked to masquerade:

(Note, however, that the rabbit's is the only mask rimmed with pearls.)

On St. Belligeron Day, it is customary to give a blue feather to someone important to you:

As such, blue feathers appear to be linked to love, devotion, paranormal relationships, and maybe secrecy or disguise. Echo's blue-winged outfit in particular likely symbolizes the relief she felt from setting aside her day-to-day identity and being renewed in the guise of someone else. This sensation of freedom is emphasized by the presence of an empty bird cage:

Gil loves him some blue feathers:

Stuff in Cages
Feathers are everywhere, including a blue one in this little cage on a chain that Gilbert is holding (thanks aceofredspades!):

A tiny key and a feather in a cage are simply too random for Gil to be holding for no reason, so they gotta mean something! Perhaps this is the blue feather representing Gil's love and devotion that he never got the chance to give Oz during St. Belligeron Day, chained as it is to Oz, and showing how possessive Gil is(/was? XD) of Oz. The little key is small enough to open this cage, and maybe echoes Break's warning to Gil of not grasping onto Oz so tightly.

But Raven's feathers are all over this picture. Maybe it's more likely that this feather in a cage is symbolic of Gil's contract with Raven, further reinforced by it dangling on a chain. After all, his contract with Raven is anchored onto an amulet that he carries around on a chain. The key in this context would represent Raven granting access to the Abyss. This is connected to the wish-granting aspect of the color blue, as with blue roses. And, actually, all the cages I've seen are linked to blue roses.

Including Ada having a skull in a cage with a blue rose:

(Ada has been seen with Yellow roses, which are common to the Vessalius dukedom, as well as Blue roses and Black roses. In this picture she has all three.)

And Alice holding B-Rabbit in a cage garlanded with blue roses:

But cages, just like chains, are symbols of bondage and entrapment. Such as the entrapment of a Chain by a Contractor... or the other way around? OR could they also mean protection? Recall the picture of Break with the white rose again:

I always thought that Gilbert's presence here was just to show him releasing Raven, since those are Raven's wings next to him. But if you look closely,  Break looks like he's inside a cage. Gil does tend to put things important to him in "cages." The chapter this picture came from had Break fighting a losing battle against two Baskervilles where he was forced to release Mad Hatter. Raven realized that Break's life-force (white rose) was weakening so he came over there to interrupt the fight and help. In doing so, he did manage to restrain Break's Mad Hatter power and stood as a physical barrier between Break and the Baskervilles, shielding him inside a metaphorical cage... and allowing the dis-empowerment of Break's handicap to sink in.

pineappleoz did a whole entry on the significance of crosses in Pandora Hearts, and much of what follows was inspired by it.

You can find many crosses in Pandora Hearts art. The most obvious one is the cross marking Lacie's grave:

This likely evokes all the feelings that modern visitors to cemeteries have when they come to spend time with departed loved ones. However, in Victorian times, different kinds of crosses had different meanings in a funerary setting. Lacie's looks like a hybrid of an Ionic Cross standing on a Calvary Cross pedestal. The Ionic Cross means everlasting salvation, love, and glory, with the circle representing eternity. The three steps of the Calvary Cross base represent faith, hope, and love/charity. Taken together this is powerful imagery of what Lacie must've meant to Jack and Glen, and perhaps who she is as a being. Glen's cover featured him beside the Lacie cross:

There are also two elements of the "trinity" concept present in the Lacie cross: the triune pedestal and the tri-flared ends of its arms. Needless to say the trinity of "Alice, Celia, Lacie" comes to mind, as well as "Alice, Alyss, Lacie." The circle in Pandora Hearts also has potential additional meanings. The contractor symbol is a circle, and it's progression is modeled after the arm of a circular clock (such as the prophecised one that stopped). By extension these mean passage of time and completion of a cycle, or even prophetic events and a connection to the Abyss itself (where you go once the contract symbol goes full circle).

The arm ends look a little like very toned down Fleur-de-lis symbols, or "lily flower" in French. These are strongly linked to royalty, and also to the purity and chastity of the Virgin Mary. The "virgin" who gave birth to a holy god-child... which in this case could be Alice... maybe... not...? Huge stretch, I know. The Fleur-de-lis are more pronounced in the music watch:

(It might be relevant that the watch is on a chain. It is also made of gold, an Abyss property.)

Here the central Lacie cross stands on a horizontal crescent moon. If the Fleur-de-lis link to the Virgin Mary can be made, then this alludes to religious imagery of her as Queen of Heaven (or, in this case, of the Abyss), standing on a crescent moon. The watch also has several other interesting symbols, particularly related to twins. Aside from the large cross in the middle, there are two little pointed crosses, which might indicate twin graves. There are two crescent moons, one waxing and one waning - a very intriguing reference to increasing light (white) and decreasing light (black), a light/dark duality which could be indicating the Alice twins. There are two sickle or scythe-like designs poised over the little crosses. Both sickles and scythes are symbols of the harvest, and in particular of "death" as the last harvest. B-Rabbit's weapon is a scythe.

The arms of the Lacie cross end in diamond shapes similar to those on the Pandora cross:

This looks like a flared out Greek Cross with rounded ends. The distinctive characteristic of the Greek Cross are its equal-length arms, and since it's one of the earliest Christian symbols, it also draws on the pre-Christian polytheistic symbolism of planet Earth with its four cardinal directions, and the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, with ether, the fifth element, at the center. These elements correspond to the body, mind, will, emotion, and spirit respectively.

Of course, we know what the designs on the Pandora cross stand for. The diamonds on the arms are the four Abyss gates claimed by Pandora, giving them access to four of Glen's chains: Owl, Dodo, Griffon, and Raven. The square at the center represents the fifth gate, still owned by the Baskervilles, and giving access to Jabberwocky. I'm not sure if it would make sense to try aligning these with the four elements and their correspondences (Dodo=Barma=Mind=Air?? D:), but I do think it makes sense to say that the central square corresponds to the Abyss itself, and the spiritual element of ether. The other four gate symbols link into it, after all, just like they access the Abyss.

The Abyss seems to play the role of an afterlife in Pandora Hearts, so it being linked with funerary symbols like crosses isn't that unusual. All the dead people hang out in the Abyss (Alice, Alyss, Cheshire, Jack, Glen, and now Lacie), and the Abyss "gives willpower to the unliving." Disembodied souls journey through the Golden World of the Abyss for 100 years before reincarnating. Jack repeats this idea to Isla Yura before killing him: "may your soul be banished from this world for 100 years." And here again we see a cross, but this time in the guise of a sword:

(It looks like a Botonee Cross, with its three-pronged arm ends symbolic of the Trinity.)

The sword shows the more violent aspect of the Cross-as-Death symbolism. The pointed sword-cross is the crest of the Nightray dukedom, and is worn by both Gilbert and Vincent:

(Gil doesn't wear his very often, but he does wear a cross once outside of the Nightray context: in the picture of him in mourning cradling a skull. That's probably for the death of his Master, though.)

(Vince wears his all the time.)

Elliot, of course, also wore a the cross emblem. It features prominently behind him on the cover of Volume 14 and he wore one all through the Yura's Mansion arc. All the Nightrays wear it, and we all know what happened to the Nightray bloodline...

(Also note the black ribbons wrapped around Elliot's chains.)

It's almost as if running around wearing a funerary ornament marks you for death... which doesn't bode well for Gilbert, or especially Vincent, and everybody in Pandora, for that matter. But I wouldn't panic just yet. Break, who is virtually guaranteed to die by the end of the story, doesn't wear crosses. Not even his cane-sword resembles a cross. The only time I can recall him having one is when he showed his Pandora cross to Oz:

Leo, on the other hand, has a cross on top of the crown he wears as King of the Baskervilles:

Alice, and various stuffed rabbits, are seen with crosses quite often:

(That's a sword-cross in her garter, similar to the twin pointed crosses on the Lacie watch. The white rabbit is holding a regular Latin Cross. Is this dominance over White Rabbit? Yet the rabbit here is male, and his outfit and cross look like Father Harris Watson's from the Pandora Hearts Pilot oneshot who was defeated by B-Rabbit.)

(Another ordinary cross held by the pink rabbit here.)

(Same kind of cross again next to the mirror. Notice also how the mirror here is cracked. It might not be a direct reflection of the Dark Alice on the bed, but instead symbolic of a severance of connection with the mirror world of the Abyss where Alyss is, trapping her on the other side as Dark Alice dominates.)

Of course, human Alice died during the Sablier tragedy, so her link to a funerary symbol isn't that unusual, and would explain why it's next to the mirror in her old room.

Dunno if any of these connections mean anything, but thought I'd throw them out there.

juanirjuanir on October 7th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
you've really given much thought into it :D now i'm more amazed by MochiJun's illustrations :D
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC)
Yeah, the amount of thought she puts into it is absolutely awe-inspiring to me!!
a_taller_talea_taller_tale on October 7th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
A lot of interesting thoughts here. Great pick ups. I'm usually just looking at the pretty instead of finding deeper meaning, but Jun dropped a lot of breadcrumbs for us.
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 05:44 am (UTC)
Looking through the rose symbolism alone makes me dizzy. There's roses everywhere... EVERYWHEEERE!!
FrappachinoPuppyalicebunny115 on October 7th, 2011 03:36 am (UTC)
Amazing! This is a very detailed and descriptive outlook into the meaning behind the pictures. I wish I could come up with something like this! xD

By the way, I don't think that's a monarch butterfly in Oz's picture. It looks more like either tiger swallowtail butterfly, or a Ulysses butterfly (blue mountain butterfly), more than likely the later. They can be found in European countries, but are most common in Australia. :)

Also, according to wiki answers, it is symbolism to "transmutation and the Dance of Joy. Metamorphosis, symbol of change, joy, and color.
the blue butterfly is a wish-granter or malicious spirit" Thought that might help.
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
Oooh, thanks for the input! I honestly didn't know what exact kind of butterflies they were, so you're probably right. I added your symbolism to the post. ^_^
gommyommy: Glengommyommy on October 7th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
It's overwhelming really. Her artwork is always so beautiful I have to step back to consider the depth of symbolism that is clearly there, at least for a lot of the pictures. Sometimes when it comes to things like the color ribbons, I suspect more of a fashion/style choice is being made than a symbolic one, but who knows?

I wonder a bit about the brown rabbit stuffie we see on occasion. It seems pretty clear who the white and black rabbits are supposed to be (Alyss and Alice) but the brown rabbit?

I hadn't noticed the crowns before, and your observation about Glen/Leo being "kings" makes some sense. I wonder about the flower Leo is surrounded by in the crown picture?
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 05:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been wondering about the brown rabbit too. I see it as a kind of integration between the black and white rabbit. It's interesting how in the Oz/Gil & Leo/Vince picture, the brown rabbit sits in the background, watching - doing anything? But I hesitate to put any labels on brown rabbit since we don't have a pattern for it yet.

I was trying to figure out what the flowers around Leo were, but I'm horrible at identifying flowers. If you or anyone else can identify what kind they are, that'd be great to know!
(no subject) - booksmacking on October 7th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 11th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gommyommy on October 11th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
animefan18_69animefan18_69 on October 7th, 2011 05:11 am (UTC)
You... are very perceptive OAO
I can see a lot of sense in your theories, and I can actually see their possibility.
Wow, these are awesome, Mochijun IS the type to go for symbolism.
The Dark Jack seemed to be the true Jack to me (which he is), and I can sort of see Dark Jack tainting the White Oz (I still think the hands are his, but if their not, then it's possibly Glen's trying to 'save' Oz. I think Glen wears rings....? O_O )

(And I also want to thank you for the pictures XD *shot*)
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! ^_^ I don't see the white and black in opposition, myself. I see that picture as an elaborate Yin Yang symbol, with both the Yin (dark/Jack) and Yang (light/Oz) polarities having a bit of the other and being connected by a common flow. Kind of like Black and White Rabbit.

(sorry for multiple posting notifications, I can't edit replies so I just delete and do over XD)
willingabyss on October 7th, 2011 06:17 am (UTC)
Wow, this is such a great post! Well done on putting it all together- must’ve taken a bit of time.
I think it’s also interesting to note that in the image where Oz is studying Lacie’s melody that whilst the foreground has blue roses there are a few yellow roses behind the chair. I agree though that those hands don;t seem like Jacks, not only because of the ring but the cuff style doesn’t feel very Jack.
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 06:42 am (UTC)
Good catch! I wasn't paying attention to the yellow roses back there.
(no subject) - willingabyss on October 7th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - willingabyss on October 7th, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Jules: PH: Gilbert | you're an alien your touchdiapadme on October 7th, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
This is wonderfully worked out, thank you! It really helps that some people actually look at these artworks xD They actually contain lots more information than you see on first sight.
Anyway, the panel for September 2011 blew my mind. Awesome timing, indeed XD
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, I wonder if it was planned O.o
(no subject) - diapadme on October 7th, 2011 11:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - diapadme on October 7th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gommyommy on October 7th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - diapadme on October 7th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - diapadme on October 7th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
babuhime23babuhime23 on October 7th, 2011 10:09 am (UTC)
Great work!!
luv ur theories!
u've got a lot of interesting thoughts, and u've analysed it well!!

neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 11:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! ^_^
dracilla112dracilla112 on October 7th, 2011 10:23 am (UTC)
There's also a hand reaching for the King in the chess image with Oz, Gil, Vincent and Break on the far left ^^ ...also I'm not flower expert, so I don't know the symbolism behind the different flowers they all carry :D
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 11:48 am (UTC)
Oh nice!! I totally overlooked that one, but I added it in now.
(Deleted comment)
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
It took a long time, yes @_@... and I'm still adding to it. x_x
ramylieramylie on October 7th, 2011 12:20 pm (UTC)
just a thing... being a mangaka gves you so much time to think about these crazy things! °A° perhaps Jun-sensei is a great fan of Sherlock Holmes... U_U
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
Hehe, she's certainly a fan of leaving clues all over the place.
hanselinahanselina on October 7th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
I love you for this ** so many details <3
although i've been wondering a few things, first what are the symbolism of the flowers behind gil in there : http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l389/neiru2012/GilMourningSkull1.jpg
also in the september picture (http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l389/neiru2012/2011_09_JackGlenAlice.jpg) the glen/gil side has a blue monarch butterfly while jack/vince's side has a red one, what would the difference of color mean ?
also about the feathers, there are very big reddish/purplish wings in the front of that picture http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l389/neiru2012/GilVinceOzLeoOpera.jpg
and i was wondering if the pearls were just a decoration choice or if they had meanings too...there sorry not bothering you anymore XD
great work i'm really in awe with all the details you (and jun-sensei of course) foccussed on <3
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it! ^_^

Flowers behind Gil: well, I'm not sure what they are, so can't look them up. They look sort of like lilies, but not quite. If they are lilies, it means "majesty, innocence, purity, and resurrection" and "use of lilies at funerals symbolizes the restored innocence of the soul at death." (Source)

Butterflies: represent "the soul," as well as "life, death and resurrection" (source), and transformation in general. I'm not really sure what the color difference might mean but, if I were to guess right now, maybe it represents a difference in Jack's and Glen's personalities. The color red is associated with passion and emotional extremes, whereas the color blue is more calm and detached (although we all know Glen has quite a temper). But I think it may be more likely that the butterfly colors are related to the color meanings of flowers, so red would still be love and passion, and blue would mean attaining the impossible and wish-granting. BUT, since virtually all the other butterflies are so overwhelmingly blue, maybe Jack having a large red one shows something weird about his soul in particular... o.o; Or maybe it's just an aesthetic color choice. XD

Feathers: yeah, there's LOTS of feathers, ALL over the place. @_@ Oz and Gil have some blue ones in their hats, too. I dunno what they mean in this context. Maybe the fact that both Leo and Gilbert have Glen's powerful feathered chains.

Pearl garlands: in the Jack/Oz Yin Yang, right? Yeah, I'm not sure. They could be an extension of the "ribbon"/"string" theme. One thing I thought was kinda neat is that they end in a teardrop shape that's similar to both Jack's and Vince's earrings. Not sure if that's at all related, though.
(no subject) - kae_ra on October 7th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kae_ra on October 7th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
purplecarrot88: reim purplecarrot88 on October 7th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
Wow. just wow. I would never have noticed any of these points myself. Now they're making my mind race and I'm starting to make my own speculations as to where the story will go... *sigh
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
Maddening, isn't it? XD
anemos_189 on October 7th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'm always at awe how beatiful Jun's art are and how much details in them. I love you for such a great work!

I realize in the chess picture, Vince was holding yeallow flowers that looked like these flower : http://www.mangareader.net/pandora-hearts/60. Do you know what they are?
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
I have no idea what they are, but I've been wondering that too. Anyone else know what they are??
(no subject) - willingabyss on October 8th, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 9th, 2011 05:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - willingabyss on October 9th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 9th, 2011 07:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - willingabyss on October 9th, 2011 09:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
Evaanimeangel4eva on October 7th, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
Whoaaaa, this is mind blowing awesomeness. There were a few things I've never noticd and bamf! There they are! I'm really fascinated by the flower's types and colors meaning and how they are connected to the characters. Awesome job of putting this together. :)
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 7th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And yeah, me too. I just wish I could better identify the different kinds of flower species so I could look them up. ;_;
Brittney's Journal :3: Gilbertwooper134 on October 7th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! This is amazing, I hadn't picked up almost any of this! Great work, and thanks for sharing! I'm going to go pull out my copy of the artbook and do a bit more investigating now.

Also, I just now noticed that in the picture of Dark!Alice kneeling over Jack, it seems that the she has a cage-thing attached to her leg. It reminded me of the bandage that's around White!Alice/Alyss's leg. I don't know if that could have any significant meaning, but I've always wondered about the bandage, and noticing that Alice had a similar something around her leg in that picture got me wondering more. (The cage-like things around her arms in that picture are also similar to the ribbons around Alyss', too.)
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Nice! I added the stuff with Alice's ribbons and cage-thingies!
AceofRedSpadesaceofredspades on October 7th, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
This is AWESOME. I love Jun's art so much! And finding this symbolism looks so fun I'm gonna try a bit myself XD

I think the ribbon symbolism is most likely relevant. I mean, look at this one: http://gallery.minitokyo.net/view/511319 with the red ribbon tying their arms together. Roses show up here too.

http://gallery.minitokyo.net/view/502364 In this one, Break has a white rose that's losing petals, and I'm guessing the feathers in the background are Raven's.

This one has Ada being happy and a skull with a blue rose on its head.

http://gallery.minitokyo.net/view/414500 Daisies and a rubber duck? I dunno.

http://gallery.minitokyo.net/view/412407 The chain Gil's holding connects to a small cage containing a single blue feather.

Also, if you look at the chains on the volume covers, some characters have broken chains whereas others don't.

http://gallery.minitokyo.net/view/413507 If possible, zoom in on this one. You'll see Emily's head in the bouquet of roses. It kinda freaked me out when first noticed. Also,
If you look near the sword's handle, you'll see a piece of candy.
Conclusion: Break is always watching. o_______o
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
*brain ASPLODES* @_@

Awesome finds! I added the Alice twins ribbons, Break's white rose, Ada's caged skull, and Gil's caged feather.

Yeah, I've been noticing the un/broken chains on the covers too. And Leo has no chains at all. o.o

Break is always watching, indeed. XD
(no subject) - alicebunny115 on October 8th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
Alice Vessalius: Break x Sharon: laughingpineappleoz on October 8th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
Wow! Impressive analysis!! :D I never realized how many roses and ribbons had shown up over the course of PH. Also, in the 4th picture, I think Vincent is holding some yellow flowers back there (dunno if that's relevant).

By the way, I wrote a little thing about a different symbolism in PH myself awhile ago. If anyone's interested, you can click on my username and it's the first post on my page. (It mmight get a little incoherent/hard to understand in places, sorry!)

Anyways, amazing post, and awesome job on compiling all this great stuff!! :D
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Oh, sweet! Great overview of the Cross symbolism! I've seen crosses all over PH art and wasn't sure what to make of them, but your explanation makes a lot of sense. In particular I've seen the cross around Alice and rabbits holding them. Also, the symbol of Pandora is a cross! Can I add your Cross stuff to my post? ^^;
(no subject) - pineappleoz on October 8th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 9th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Thousand Mistress: Kyouko || Oh hai!akisumire on October 8th, 2011 07:45 am (UTC)
Woah, woah, you really did a great job on this one for real~ I was shocked to see so many theories regarding the roses, chains, ribbons and butterflies. All the while I knew they were symbolisms. XD Jun-sama is the perfect mangaka already (with a little bit of being a troll I guess? XDD) But to be honest, the most I can see are roses and chains, specifically chains on the volume covers.

Speaking of volume covers, you mentioned something about the "supposed" volume 16 of PH, with Leo as the cover? Well, my theory about that is...the rainbow colors of the cover symbolizes Leo's former personality, to show how much he's changed. It's his way to surprise people and tell him that he's no longer the quiet one and the servant of the Nightrays but a Baskerville. The element of that cover is "surprise"...remember the time that he was revealed to be a Baskerville? Fans were very surprised~

And oh, seeing the earlier chapters depicting Alyss's obsession over Jack? I have the feeling that it's Lacie reincarnated or something. XD

Whew~ I guess that's all though, you're good at these /o/ Hope to read more from you soon! (to be frank about it, on one art where dark!Alice has a domineering position over Jack, I feel that she likes him an awful lot than Alyss...)
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 09:13 am (UTC)
Thank you. ^_^ Oh, are you saying you don't think there's much meaning to the symbols besides the roses and chains?

Ah yeah, the "supposed" Leo cover, gotta love it. I agree that it represents Leo's former personality - the one who likes to immerse himself in books. It reminds me of this page where Leo has stars all around him. I think these and the rainbow flowers on the "cover" picture represent imagination and escapism. I also think they represent the Abyss lights he sees.
(no subject) - akisumire on October 8th, 2011 09:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
anemos_189 on October 8th, 2011 08:26 am (UTC)
When I looked at the list of chains on cover, I realized that those has slightly broken chains are those always do everything for "important person", in another way of speaking, have specks of insanity
- Oz : destroys everything for Alice
- Break : killed 50 people
- Lottie : you know how much she loves Glen, more than any Baskerviles
- Cheshire : Alice! Alice! Alice!
- Reim : I'm not sure about him. But I hope, really hope, he's sane. I love him so much

For those whose chains are very broken, we all know they could go pretty far for those they love. Another level of obsession

With those has unbroken chains, they're pretty much saner. They don't lose their minds or willing to destroy everything (again, I'm not sure with Gil or Glen. But in some ways, Gil always stops before he does anything, like when he didn't shoot Zai)

Just my opinions ^^
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's true that Leo, Vincent, and Jack (I'd group Oz with Jack) are the most extreme when it comes to doing things for people they love. But I'm not sure if I'd call the unbroken chain people "saner." For example, Gilbert and Glen can get pretty crazy/unstable. Echo, Elliot, and Ada have a split personality thing going on. Lily is pretty psychotic. It's so hard to tell!
(no subject) - anemos_189 on October 8th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mariamiss_mia_love on October 8th, 2011 09:11 am (UTC)
Wow I love you're theories!!! Especially about the roses... But in this picture http://media.photobucket.com/image/pandora%20hearts%20vincent/kalanikamori/Pandora%20Hearts/MinitokyoPandoraHeartsScans_415005.jpg you can see that there are also purple roses. Well it is more like a mix between the red(oz) and blue(gil)roses. Maybe it means connection or something? And there are a lot of ribbons :o
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 09:40 am (UTC)
Oh good gods, my brain is so fried from processing symbolism right now that taking one look at that picture nearly overloaded it, LOL. Red, blue, purple roses. Red and blue ribbons. Gil has his left hand tied up again. Chessboard. B-blue rabbit?? Candy!!

I've tried figuring out a relevant meaning for purple/lavender roses, since Break always has them, but I'm not sure what they'd mean for him. I've found "grace, gentility, elegance and refinement" and "adds enchantment and indicates opulence or majesty" and that they're often referred to as blue roses. (Source) I can't squeeze anything interesting out of that for Break, but I guess in the picture you linked it could represent refinement and opulence.
(no subject) - miss_mia_love on October 8th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
♔GOD SAVE THE QUEEN: Vincent #3 [Pandora Hearts]yubilee on October 8th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
Wow, I'm even more impressed by Mochizuki after this post. And thank you for putting it all together, must have been a lot of work! I didn't even notice a lot of things, so it's great to read all of this <3

Why do I have the feeling that if new artwork comes out, everyone will analyse it like crazy? Just so we won't get trolled again XD
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 8th, 2011 09:43 am (UTC)
Yah, I know I'll be analyzing the crap out of any artwork that comes out. XD
Akkiegen_fenmio on October 8th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)
Probably the only contribution I might be able to give to this discussion is the mention of the stuffed bunnies in the art here and there.

ALL I KNOW IS THAT THEY MEAN SOMETHING DEEP AND ALICE-ISH. The only depressing part is the fact that I can't think of what. Thoughts?
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 9th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree they mean something deep and Alice-ish, but I'm not sure exactly what. The rabbits are just kinda there... often beat/cut up... sometimes one, sometimes many... all different colors... watching... @_@

White would be Alyss, Black is Alice or B-Rabbit, but not quite sure what to do with all the colors in between. Sorta starting suspect the brown one is Lacie.

Maybe the symbolism goes back to what rabbits mean in Alice in Wonderland. "Down the rabbit hole" and all that... at least for the White Rabbit, in which case Wonderland is the Abyss.
Re: STUFFED BUNNIES - gen_fenmio on October 10th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: STUFFED BUNNIES - howl_y on October 10th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: STUFFED BUNNIES - neiru2012 on October 10th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: STUFFED BUNNIES - howl_y on October 11th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 9th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, I did notice the pink flowers but I have no clue what they are or what they mean. XD Welcome to the madness of symbol analysis!!
sopernicious on October 8th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
this is amazing. i'm not going to go and repeat everything that everybody else said, but i swear i'll be looking over everything now.~
neiru2012neiru2012 on October 9th, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)
It's incredibly addicting!