The symbolism of the stork
The stork is commonly seen as a representation of birth, but where does this association come from? Well, the natural behaviour of a stork lends a clue to the answer. Storks are a migratory bird; the white storks would fly south in the autumn, returning to Europe nine months later. The white storks can usually be seen heading north and nesting around March and April. Babies born in March and April were likely conceived in June of the previous year… Midsummer’s Eve takes place in June, the 21st, a celebration of the summer solstice as well as a pagan holiday of marriage and fertility.
Many marriages and couplings took place during this festival, meaning many babies would be born at the same time as the storks were seen flying north, creating the idea that the stork ‘brought’ the baby.
In some countries, it was believed that leaving sweets on display in the window was a way to let the storks know that the family was ready for a baby.
Yet another belief was that the stork was a powerful symbol of good luck. Storks had a tendency to nest on people’s roofs and chimneys, leaving people under the illusion that if a stork was to land on their roof, a child would be born to the couple living in that house as a result of this.
This silver stork is listed on our website as a pair of ‘antique sterling silver ribbon pullers/threaders’ – with the beak/blades being used to grip fine ribbons. Explaining why the ribbon pullers have been formed after a stork, the functionality of ribbon pullers can assist. Frequently, ribbon pullers were used to thread ribbon through the eyelets incorporated in baby clothing through the ages. A slightly more ‘direct’ link to birth than is the fact that Stork scissors/clamps have been used as a device used to cut the umbilical cord/tie off the umbilical cord after a woman has given birth. Whether the example in our inventory was ever intended for this purpose is unclear, but they certainly would have been very aesthetically similar.
While it doesn’t seem that ribbon pullers would have much use in contemporary society, they are actually a highly valued item. Not only are they a quaint Christening gift, but they also serve a functional purpose for sewists. When sewing a garment, a vast variety of tools can make the work much more manageable, and ribbon pullers are a part of that. Enthusiastic sewists and antique collectors enjoy ribbon pullers, whether for their function or their beauty as a collectable display item.
Marc Henderson – Social Media Executive
Our Social Media Executive – Marc will continue to keep the followers of the business entertained on our social media outlets and will assist with developing the brand online.