Art and Tradition

Examples of Swastika


a The swastika is a hook-shaped cross or swastika used at different times and for various reasons. Its best known use is as a symbol of the Nazi party of Germany. The flags and other elements related to this political movement kept a large swastika. However, this symbol has a very ancient origin.

Swastika history

The word “swastika” originates from the Nepalese Sanskrit “svastika”, which means “very auspicious”. It has also been given others if “good fortune” or “well-being”.

Throughout history, especially from the 19th century, archaeologists such as Heinrich Schliemann have found traces of the existence of the swastika from ancient civilizations. It is said that its origin dates back 5,000 years when it was reflected in different ceramic objects and others used by humans before the Christian era, especially in Troy and other European territories. By the 20th century, the swastika began to be used to denote good fortune.

The völkisch (populist or folk movement) began to take the swastika as a graphic representation of their ideology, since for them it was the emblem of “Aryan identity” and nationalist pride.

In Nazi Germany

It was only a matter of time before far-right parties adopted this element as their own, including the Nazi party since 1920 . For the extremists, the swastika was the most representative symbol of the nationalist ideals that, according to their purposes, would achieve that Germany had only inhabitants of pure race.

The own Hitler designed a red background image with a white circle and a swastika thick lines in the center of the circle and rotated 45 degrees.

After the world-famous events, using the swastika is very controversial for many people, as it was recorded as a link with Nazism . Members of that party caused one of the worst acts of genocide in history, some of them were convicted of crimes against humanity and others caused their own death before being prosecuted.

In religion and cultures

Being an emblem designed thousands of years ago, it is inevitable that it is linked to various religious and philosophical currents, some of them are:

European pagan traditions: with the swastika the gates of birth and death were represented, the first with the right-handed version (clockwise) and the second with the left-handed swastika (counter-clockwise). It is also included in the zodiac as an emblem of birth and death, in the signs Pisces and Virgo respectively.

Buddhism : in Buddhism the cross is used completely horizontal, without rotations, as in the case of the Nazis. In Chinese writing it symbolizes the character 萬 (wan4), which means ‘everything’ and ‘eternity’, but it is not as widely used as others.

This emblem is still used in Chinese culture to decorate product packaging and other objects. For them the elements earth, fire, air and water are presented with this symbol.

Christianity : especially in Gothic churches, this cross was used to cover their intentions to use the cross as we know it in Christianity, this, to avoid problems with authorities in ancient times. The swastika is embodied in some temples, representing the four editors of the canonical gospels.

Hinduism : In this religion, the swastika is used in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. In both versions the two forms of Brahman are represented: the evolution and involution of the universe, respectively.

The swastika is also used in Janaism, also in other non-existent or already little popular ones, such as Proto-Indo-European.

In Germanic mythology it was the symbol of the hammer of Thor, the god of thunder. In Ireland it is used to ward off bad omen.

Swastika examples

Next, you will see several examples of swastika that have been used in different cultures throughout history.

  • Thule Society Symbol:

Thule Society Symbol

  • Vessel of the Moche culture. Huaca Rajada, Peru:

Vessel of the Moche culture. Huaca Rajada, Peru

  • Trinacria on the Sicilian flag:

Trinacria on the Sicilian flag

  • Initial symbol of the National Savings Movement »:

Initial symbol of the National Savings Movement

  • On the Nazi flag:

On the Nazi flag

  • Flag of Guna Yala of the Guna ethnic group:

Flag of Guna Yala of the Guna ethnic group

  • Symbol of the 45th Infantry Division, USA:

Symbol of the 45th Infantry Division, USA

  • Buddhist temple in Korea:

Buddhist temple in Korea

  • Old Coca-Cola advertisement:

Old Coca-Cola advertisement

  • Buddhist levorotatory sauastika swastika on a bell, Japan:

Buddhist levorotatory sauastika swastika on a bell, Japan

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