When it comes to symbols of a subculture, there’s nothing more iconic than the pot leaf. However, while this leaf has become synonymous with modern cannabis culture, it has a long past that stretches back to ancient civilizations where it was a source of inspiration for many. From cave paintings to burial shrouds, the pot leaf has been vital to both life and death in various cultures around the globe. The symbol of the pot leaf not only indicates the ubiquity of the plant but also its importance throughout history. Let’s dive in and take a brief look at the history of the pot leaf, as well as its role in cultures and societies around the world.
Pot Leaf Relics
As far back as 10,000 years ago people have been painting and paying homage to the cannabis leaf. A cave painting from the Neolithic Jomon period in Japan is a testament to that, depicting tall stalks and hemp leaves. While hemp seeds have also been found from the same period, some of the oldest pot leaves found were in a tomb in China. Archaeologists were impressed by the finding as the cannabis plants were nearly whole and radiocarbon dating found that the burial likely happened between 2,400 to 2,800 years ago.
Gods and Cannabis
Cannabis also played a huge role in ancient Egyptian culture, with the god Seshat being a figure most commonly portrayed with a pot leaf. As the goddess of architecture and literature, Seshat is theorized to have used cannabis as a tool for her work, since it was a common material utilized for making ropes. Also, king Tuthmosis III even bestowed the name of Sefkhet-Abwy or “She of the seven points” upon her. Additionally, cannabis is thought to have been used in an incense called kyphi, which was commonly used by Pharaohs for communicating with the gods. Many attribute the ‘mind altering’ properties of this incense to the presence with cannabis.
Medicine and the Pot Leaf
Across the Mediterranean sea, the ancient Greeks were also using cannabis and illustrating the pot leaf in medical textbooks. Nonetheless, the Greeks employed cannabis for medicinal rather than spiritual reasons. Furthermore, they used it to help heal animals, and the plant had various applications in veterinary medicine. Pot leaves were used for dressing wounds, on both humans and animals. In addition, the leaves helped prevent nosebleeds, and the seeds were a means of combating tapeworms.
Time to Enjoy
Regardless of where you are in the world, the pot leaf is a universal symbol for medicine, spirituality, and history. To this day, many people (us included) continue to use the cannabis plant and its leaves to heal themselves and transport themselves to a higher state of mind. If you are searching for more cannabis history or education, you may want to visit our Instagram. Anyone hunting for recommendations or tips on cannabis accessories or strains, be sure to check out the Parkdale Brass blog. While you’re there, visit our shop to check out our high-quality brass accessories!