Watch For: flowers, roses, mysterious hands, ribbons, pearls, chains, cages, feathers, wings, butterflies, skulls, crowns, crosses, chessboards, curtains, stars, rabbits, mirrors, earrings, colors.

You often find lavish curtains in Pandora Hearts art dominating large portions of the picture. They have a theatrical quality to them, framing the visible characters as if they're on a stage. In the opera picture below, they take on deep hues of green and blue, creating a turquoise ambiance reminiscent of being underwater. Pearls, gems of the sea, line the rim of the balcony. The blue wall in the back is vertically striped, almost like a cage, and in the middle is a door. A brown rabbit with a black bow sits dead center on a red cushion between Oz and Leo... watching.
Leo & Vince and Oz & Gil at the Opera

The current Abyss is dark, filled with water and drifting golden lights. You can see it when Oz got condemned, and when Alice first heard the Lacie melody, and also whenever Jack interacts with Oz. The aquatic color scheme here might be related to this. The blue/green/gold scheme is only broken by Leo's purple attire, distinguishing him from Oz/Gil/Vince's turquoise and matching him with the reddish purple wings in the foreground. More on wings later.

What's the reason for singling Leo out? Isn't Vincent supposed to be on his side? Or is this an indication that Leo alone is not in the thrall of the Abyss' power? After all, he is the only one of the four who wants to destroy the Will of the Abyss. Purple is also the color of royalty, marking him as King of the Baskervilles.

But aside from their watery associations, the curtains are like the overhanging sky, complete with celestial symbols such as wings and stars. Sea and sky are not mutually exclusive symbols, since many cultures associate the night sky with the ocean, rivers, and even milk. Hence the expression, "sea of stars." Both the sky and the ocean envelop us with their vastness and have omniscient qualities in mythology.

Five-pointed stars appear in other places, too, sometimes in conjunction with Abyss lights. Or, I should say, five pointed objects, since five-petaled flower confetti seems to serve a similar purpose.

This is especially true around Leo, and particularly when he's immersing himself in books in order to escape the world and himself. In chapter 63 he was shown with a profusion of stars and Abyss lights while reading, and these are also shown as five-pointed flowers here and in the picture on the right.

As such, stars seem to be linked with fun, light-hearted, whimsical scenes involving creativity and imagination to escape from an otherwise serious world. They also appear with other characters, as is shown in the pictures below. Also note that the cage-like vertical striped background with stars behind the curtains in the third picture is very similar to the one in the opera picture.
Leo with Stars
Oz and Gil StarsGil, Break & Oz StarsOz & Gil Stars
Curtains & Pearls
Just as curtains put the featured characters on center stage, they also shroud what's going on backstage. This has the very literal symbolism of either obscuring or revealing information depending on how far the curtains are drawn back.

The owner of these mysterious hands is hidden in the shadow of these curtains, not unlike when Jack first appeared to Oz, or when Zwei came for Echo. In the opera picture above, the curtains are pulled back to show a closed door. In the Yin Yang picture of Jack and Oz, the curtains are pulled back even more, opening up a panorama of the Lacie music watch and its melody. Are these hints of what's driving the story from behind the scenes?

The curtains are often held back by pearls, aquatic stones sacred to sea goddesses which may be linked to the Abyss. Sometimes they hang around as garlands, and other times they hang down like strings, ending in a teardrop shape - the shape of Lacie's earrings. In fact, the Victorian symbolism for pearls is "tears," associating them with pain and sorrow.

But that's not the only shape that pearl strings end in. They end in stars, crescent moons, and also hooks:
Echo with Pearls

They reach down like tentacles and sink their sharp, sickle-like hooks into the limbs of various character dolls, literally turning them into puppets. In this case, the pearls have latched onto Alice and Oz.

Gilbert is face-down on the bed wrapped up in white ribbon, probably symbolic of Zwei having control over him with the Doldum Chain.

Perhaps pearls, ribbons, and chains are all varying degrees of subtlety in manipulation and control. Pearls would seem like the gentler of the three, yet in the picture on the right we can see them turning into metallic chains. Not just hiding the chains like ribbons do, but directly into chains! This suggests that pearls are a more potent symbol of involvement by the Abyss than ribbons.

The metallic hooks here look similar to the B-Rabbit scythe that Alice is hiding behind her back. She is wearing a crown with purple roses and blue feathers.

But back to the teardrops that hang from the pearl strings. Jack's earrings are teardrops wrapped in string or wire. They also change color, so he either has several pairs or they act like some kind of mood ring. O.o See pictures below.

In happy pictures, such as on the cover of Volume 7 and with Oz, they are Blue. In sadder pictures, such as "drugged" Jack with dark Alice and the color insert of Volume 7 where he's in mourning, they are Red. In the September calendar picture, they are Purple, as if transitioning from Blue to Red or vice versa - changing attitude? When Jack appears to Lottie and the Baskervilles in chapter 27, they are Blue at the top and Purple or Red on the bottom.

And in the Yin Yang picture, Jack's earrings are black roses. o.O Lottie also wears rose earrings, although hers are probably Pink or Red.

Do earrings indicate what kind of influence the character is listening to? This would add extra significance to Jack's earrings being given to him by Lacie.
Alice with Chain-Pearls
Jack's Earrings
Vincent's Earrings
Vincent's teardrop earrings are consistently Red and flattened.

Incidentally, Oscar also has Red teardrop earrings sometimes.

Gilbert has a Gold clasp on his left ear. Gold is a color associated with the Abyss.

Reim wears a hoop on a strap.

Gilbert's Earrings

In this picture of a masquerade, Gilbert, Break, Vincent, and Oz all have masks with feathers. Masks are a bit like face curtains: symbols of obscurement and disguise, as well as revealing certain aspects of a character.

Gilbert's mask is a little different, since it covers the whole face. Maybe this represents how his memory had been so sparse that he didn't know who he really was and became a whole different person. His mask also has a teardrop coming down from the right eye.

The rabbit, however, doesn't have feathers at all. Instead, she has what look like pearls lining her mask (although maybe they're little paper circles or something?). There is a heart in the center - sorrow mixed with love?

This brown rabbit holding a bone appears in other pictures. Looking closer (hover your cursor over the rabbit to zoom in), you can see that the eyeholes of the mask are shaped like meat on a bone, so it's probably just Alice's love of meat. You can see Alice reaching for the same kind of bone here.

This rabbit, with its black bows, looks a lot like the black-bowed rabbit in the opera picture. Both rabbits are sitting on red chairs, and both pictures have balconies and a door.
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DISCLAIMER: Pandora Hearts and all the characters, story, and art therein is copyright Jun Mochizuki. No copyright infringement is intended, and I hope that this essay inspires more people to read/watch Pandora Hearts! Translations are by Yen Press and Fallen Syndicate. Visit the Thanks page to see who else helped!