swastika
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The swastika symbol, 卐 (''right-facing'' or ''clockwise'') or 卍 (''left-facing'', ''counterclockwise'', or sauwastika), is an ancient
religious icon An icon (from the Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called the "matrix" or "support"). The ...
in various
Eurasian Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japan ...

Eurasian
cultures. It is used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality in
Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism,Adams, C. J.Classification of ...
, including
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...
and
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
. In the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
, it was a symbol of auspiciousness and good luck until the 1930s when the German
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported th ...
adopted a right-facing form and used it as an emblem of the
Aryan race The Aryan race is a historical race concept which emerged in the late 19th century to describe people of Indo-European heritage as a racial grouping. The concept derives from the notion that the original speakers of the Indo-European langu ...
. As a result of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
and
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural syste ...
, many people in the West still strongly associate it with
Nazism Nazism (), officially National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus; ), is the ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (german: link=no, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP, or National So ...

Nazism
and
antisemitism Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is generally considered to be a form of racism. An ...
. The swastika continues to be used as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain countries such as Nepal, India, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, China and Japan. It is also commonly used in Hindu marriage ceremonies. The word ''swastika'' comes from sa, , svastika, meaning "conducive to well-being".Swastika: SYMBOL
Encyclopædia Britannica (2017)
In
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
, the right-facing symbol (卐) is called , symbolizing ("sun"), prosperity and good luck, while the left-facing symbol (卍) is called ''sauwastika'', symbolising night or
tantric Tantric or variations may refer to: Religion Religious texts *Tantras (Buddhism), Indian and Tibetan texts which outline Buddhist religious systems *Tantras (Hinduism), scriptures pertaining to esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu philosophy Belief ...
aspects of
Kali Kali (; sa, काली, ), also known as Dakshina Kālikā ( sa, दक्षिण कालिका), is a Hinduism, Hindu goddess, who is considered to be the Master of death, time and change. She is also said to be the Parvati, that ...

Kali
. In
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
, a swastika is the symbol for the seventh of 24
Tirthankara In Jainism, a ''Tirthankara'' (Sanskrit: '; English language, English: literally a 'Ford (crossing), ford-maker') is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the ''Dharma (Jainism), dharma'' (righteous path). The word ''tirthankara'' signifies the ...
s (
spiritual teacher This is an index of religious honorifics from various religions. Buddhism Christianity Eastern Orthodox The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Protestantism Catholicism Hinduism Islam Judaism ...
s and ), while in
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...
it symbolises the auspicious footprints of the
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...
. In several major
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
religions, the swastika symbolises lightning bolts, representing the
thunder god A weather god, also frequently known as a storm god, is a deity in mythology associated with weather phenomena such as thunder, lightning, rain, wind, storms, tornados, and hurricanes. Should they only be in charge of one feature of a storm, they ...
and the king of the gods, such as
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit: इन्द्र) is an Historical Vedic religion, ancient Vedic deity in Hinduism. He is the king of Svarga (Heaven) and the Deva (Hinduism), Devas (gods). He is associated with lightning, thunder, storms, rains, river flo ...

Indra
in Vedic Hinduism,
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
in the
ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and mythology originating in ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from ...
,
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and at ...
in the
ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ethnic religion of Ancient Rome that the ancient Romans, Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became widely ...
, and
Thor In Germanic mythology, Thor (; from non, Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French '' ...

Thor
in the ancient Germanic religion. The swastika is an icon which is widely found in both human history and the modern world. In various forms, it is otherwise known (in various European languages) as the ''
fylfot Fylfot or fylfot cross (FILL-fot), is an English symbol equivalent to the ''sauwastika'', or left-facing swastika. It is a cross with perpendicular extensions, usually at 90° or close angles, radiating in the same direction. Its right-facing ...

fylfot
'', ''gammadion'', ''tetraskelion'', or ''cross cramponnée'' (a term in Anglo-Norman
heraldry Heraldry () is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, Imperial, royal and noble ranks, rank and geneal ...
);
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
: ;
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consistin ...

French
: ;
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
: . In
Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 * Mongolian language * Mongolian alphabet * Mongo ...

Mongolian
it is called Хас (''khas'') and mainly used in seals. In
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
it is called 卍字 (''wànzì'') meaning "all things symbol", pronounced ''manji'' in
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
, ''manja'' (만자) in
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, an ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language * Korean alphabet, or Hangul Places * Korean Peninsula, a peninsula in East Asia * Korea, ...
and ''vạn tự / chữ vạn'' in
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...
. A swastika generally takes the form of a
cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed ...
, the arms of which are of equal length and perpendicular to the adjacent arms, each bent midway at a right angle. The symbol is found in the archeological remains of the
Indus Valley Civilisation , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...
and
Samarra Samarra ( ar, سَامَرَّاء, ') is a city in Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a c ...
, as well as in early
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
and
Christian art Christian art is sacred art which uses themes and imagery from Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teac ...
work. In Hindu and Buddhist cultures, the swastika is a holy symbol. On the day of
Diwali Diwali (; Deepavali (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic language ...
, Hindu households commonly use the swastika in decorations. Reverence for the swastika symbol in Asian cultures, in contrast to the West's stigmatisation of the symbol, has led to misinterpretations and misunderstandings.


Etymology and nomenclature

The word is derived from the Sanskrit , which is composed of (सुgood, well, auspicious) and (अस्ति"it is" or "there is") The word ''swastika'' has been used in the since 500 BCE. The word was first recorded by the ancient linguist
Pāṇini , era = ;;;6th–5th century BCE , region = Northwest Indian subcontinent , main_interests = Grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structu ...
in his work ''Ashtadhyayi''. It is alternatively spelled in contemporary texts as ''svastika'', and other spellings were occasionally used in the 19th and early 20th century, such as ''suastika''. It was derived from the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...

Sanskrit
term (
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida . ''May Śiva protect those who take ...
), which transliterates to ' under the commonly used IAST transliteration system, but is pronounced closer to ''swastika'' when letters are used with their English values. An important early use of the word swastika in a European text was in 1871 with the publications of
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ...

Heinrich Schliemann
, who discovered more than 1,800 ancient samples of the swastika symbol and its variants while digging the
Hisarlik , alternate_name = Troy , image = Troy composite.jpg , image_size=250 , alt = , caption = Hisarlik from above , map = , map_type = Turkey Marmara#Turkey , map_alt = Located at the edge of a cape projecting into the Aegean , map ...
mound near the Aegean Sea coast for the history of Troy. Schliemann linked his findings to the Sanskrit . The word occurs frequently in the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical la ...

Vedas
as well as in classical literature, meaning "health, luck, success, prosperity", and it was commonly used as a greeting. The final is a common suffix that could have multiple meanings. According to
Monier-Williams Sir Monier Monier-Williams, KCIE (; né Williams; 12 November 1819 – 11 April 1899) was the second Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 201 ...
, a majority of scholars consider it a
solar symbol A solar symbol is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy), object, or wikt:relationship, relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known ...
. The sign implies something fortunate, lucky, or auspicious, and it denotes auspiciousness or well-being. The earliest known use of the word is in Panini's ''Ashtadhyayi'', which uses it to explain one of the Sanskrit grammar rules, in the context of a type of identifying mark on a cow's ear. Most scholarship suggests that Panini lived in or before the 4th century BCE, possibly in 6th or 5th century BCE. By the 19th century, the term ''swastika'' was adopted into the English lexicon, replacing ''gammadion'' from Greek . The concept of a "reversed" swastika was probably first made among European scholars by Eugène Burnouf in 1852, and taken up by in ''Ilios'' (1880), based on a letter from
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German-born philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, his ...

Max Müller
that quotes Burnouf. The term ''sauwastika'' is used in the sense of "backwards swastika" by (1894): "In India it he_''gammadion''.html" ;"title="gammadion.html" ;"title="he ''gammadion">he ''gammadion''">gammadion.html" ;"title="he ''gammadion">he ''gammadion''bears the name of ''swastika'', when its arms are bent towards the right, and ''sauwastika'' when they are turned in the other direction." Other names for the symbol include: * ''tetragammadion'' (Greek: ) or ''cross gammadion'' ( la, crux gammata; French: ), as each arm resembles the Greek letter Γ () * ''hooked cross'' (German: ), ''angled cross'' (), or ''crooked cross'' () * ''cross cramponned'', ''cramponnée'', or ''cramponny'' in heraldry, as each arm resembles a Crampon (heraldry), crampon or angle-iron (german: Winkelmaßkreuz) * ''
fylfot Fylfot or fylfot cross (FILL-fot), is an English symbol equivalent to the ''sauwastika'', or left-facing swastika. It is a cross with perpendicular extensions, usually at 90° or close angles, radiating in the same direction. Its right-facing ...

fylfot
'', chiefly in heraldry and architecture * ''tetraskelion'' (Greek: ), literally meaning 'four-legged', especially when composed of four conjoined legs (compare reek: * '''' (Latvian for "Fire Cross"; other names — Cross of Fire, Pērkonkrusts (Cross of Thunder (Thunder Cross)), Cross of
Perun In Slavic paganism, Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic script, Cyrillic: Перýн) is the highest god of the Pantheon (religion), pantheon and the god of sky, thunder, lightning, storms, rain, law, war, fertility and oak trees. His other attri ...
(Cross of
Perkūnas Perkūnas ( lt, Perkūnas, lv, Pērkons, Old Prussian: ''Perkūns'', ''Perkunos'', Yotvingian: ''Parkuns'', Latgalian: ''Pārkiuņs'') was the common Baltic god of thunder, and the second most important deity in the Baltic Pantheon (gods), ...
), Cross of Branches, Cross of
Laima Laima is a Baltic goddess of fate. She was associated with childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean sectio ...

Laima
) * ''whirling logs'' (Navajo, Native American): can denote abundance, prosperity, healing, and luck


Appearance

All swastikas are bent crosses based on a
chiral that is chiral Chirality is a property of asymmetry important in several branches of science. The word ''chirality'' is derived from the Greek (''kheir''), "hand," a familiar chiral object. An object or a system is ''chiral'' if it is disting ...
symmetry, but they appear with different
geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic Arithmetic (from the Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:en:ἀριθμός#Ancient Greek, ἀριθμός ''arithmos'', 'number' and wikt ...

geometric
details: as compact crosses with short legs, as crosses with large arms and as motifs in a pattern of unbroken lines. Chirality describes an absence of
reflective symmetry 250px, Figures with the axes of asymmetric.">asymmetry.html" ;"title="symmetry drawn in. The figure with no axes is asymmetry">asymmetric. Reflection symmetry, line symmetry, mirror symmetry, mirror-image symmetry, is symmetry with respect to Re ...
, with the existence of two versions that are
mirror image A mirror image (in a plane mirror) is a reflected duplication of an object that appears almost identical, but is reversed in the direction perpendicular to the mirror surface. As an optical effect it results from reflection off from substances ...

mirror image
s of each other. The mirror-image forms are typically described as left-facing or left-hand (卍) and right-facing or right-hand (卐). The compact swastika can be seen as a chiral irregular (20-sided
polygon In geometry, a polygon () is a plane (mathematics), plane Shape, figure that is described by a finite number of straight line segments connected to form a closed ''polygonal chain'' (or ''polygonal circuit''). The bounded plane region (mathematic ...

polygon
) with fourfold (90°)
rotational symmetry Rotational symmetry, also known as radial symmetry in biology, is the property a shape has when it looks the same after some rotation by a partial turn. An object's degree of rotational symmetry is the number of distinct orientations in which it ...
. Such a swastika proportioned on a 5×5 square grid and with the broken portions of its legs shortened by one unit can by
translation Translation is the communication of the meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed ...
alone. The Nazi swastika used a 5×5 diagonal grid, but with the legs unshortened.


Written characters

The sauwastika was adopted as a standard character in
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
, "" () and as such entered various other
East Asian languages The East Asian languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing syste ...
, including
Chinese script Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system The modern Jap ...
. In Japanese the symbol is called or . The sauwastika is included in the
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requiremen ...

Unicode
character sets of two languages. In the Chinese block it is U+534D (left-facing) and U+5350 for the swastika (right-facing); The latter has a mapping in the original
Big5 Big-5 or Big5 is a Chinese character encoding method used in Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Ja ...
character set, but the former does not (although it is in Big5+). In Unicode 5.2, two swastika symbols and two sauwastikas were added to the Tibetan block: swastika , , and sauwastikas , .


Meaning

European hypotheses of the swastika are often treated in conjunction with cross symbols in general, such as the
sun cross A sun cross, solar cross, or wheel cross is a solar symbol consisting of an equilateral cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertical ...

sun cross
of Bronze Age religion. Beyond its certain presence in the "
proto-writing Proto-writing consists of visible marks Communication, communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC in Ancient China, China. They used i ...
" symbol systems, such as the Vinča script, which appeared during the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
.


North pole

According to
René Guénon René-Jean-Marie-Joseph Guénon (15 November 1886 – 7 January 1951), also known as Abd al-Wahid Yahya, was a French author and intellectual who remains an influential figure in the domain of metaphysics having written on topics ranging from "sa ...
, the swastika represents the north pole, and the rotational movement around a centre or immutable axis (''
axis mundi In astronomy, axis mundi is the Latin term for the Axial tilt, axis of Earth between the celestial poles. In a geocentric coordinate system, this is the axis of rotation of the celestial sphere. Consequently, in ancient Greco-Roman astronomy ...
''), and only secondly it represents the
Sun The Sun is the star A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its own gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many othe ...

Sun
as a reflected function of the north pole. As such it is a symbol of life, of the vivifying role of the supreme principle of the universe, the
absoluteAbsolute may refer to: Companies * Absolute Entertainment, a video game publisher * Absolute Radio, (formerly Virgin Radio), independent national radio station in the UK * Absolute Software Corporation, specializes in security and data risk managem ...
God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religio ...

God
, in relation to the cosmic order. It represents the activity (the Hellenic ''
Logos ''Logos'' (, ; grc, wikt:λόγος, λόγος, lógos; from , , ) is a term in Western philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion derived from a Greek word variously meaning "ground", "plea", "opinion", "expectation", "word", "speech", "a ...

Logos
'', the Hindu '''', the Chinese '' Taiyi'', "Great One") of the principle of the universe in the formation of the world. According to Guénon, the swastika in its polar value has the same meaning of the
yin and yang In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang ( and ; zh, t= ''yīnyáng'' pronounced , lit. "dark-light", "negative-positive") is a Chinese philosophy, Chinese philosophical concept that describes how obviously opposite or contrary forces m ...

yin and yang
symbol of the Chinese tradition, and of other traditional symbols of the working of the universe, including the letters Γ (
gamma Gamma (uppercase , lowercase ; ''gámma'') is the third letter of the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician ...
) and G, symbolising the
Great Architect of the Universe Great may refer to: Descriptions or measurements * Great, a relative measurement in physical space, see Size File:Comparison of planets and stars (sheet by sheet) (Oct 2014 update).png, A size comparison illustration comparing the sizes of vario ...
of
Masonic Freemasonry or Masonry consists of Fraternity, fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of Stonemasonry, stonemasons that from the end of the 14th century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and thei ...

Masonic
thought. According to the scholar Reza Assasi, the swastika represents the north ecliptic north pole centred in Zeta Draconis, ζ Draconis, with the constellation Draco (constellation), Draco as one of its beams. He argues that this symbol was later attested as the four-horse chariot of Mithra in ancient Iranian culture. They believed the cosmos was pulled by four heavenly horses who revolved around a fixed centre in a clockwise direction. He suggests that this notion later flourished in Roman Mithraism, as the symbol appears in Mithraic iconography and astronomical representations. According to the Russian archaeologist Gennady Zdanovich, who studied some of the oldest examples of the symbol in Sintashta culture, the swastika symbolises the universe, representing the spinning constellations of the celestial north pole centred in Polaris, α Ursae Minoris, specifically the Little Dipper, Little and Big Dipper (or Chariots), or Ursa Minor and Ursa Major.Gennady Zdanovich
"О мировоззрении древних жителей «Страны Городов»"
''Русский след'', 26 June 2017.
Likewise, according to René Guénon the swastika is drawn by visualising the Big Dipper/Great Bear in the four phases of revolution around the pole star.


Comet

In their 1985 book ''Comet (book), Comet'', Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan argue that the appearance of a rotating comet with a four-pronged tail as early as 2,000 years BCE could explain why the swastika is found in the cultures of both the Old World and the . The Han dynasty ''Book of Silk'' (2nd century BCE), depicts such a comet with a swastika-like symbol. Bob Kobres, in a 1992 paper, contends that the swastika-like comet on the Han-dynasty manuscript was labelled a "long tailed pheasant star" (''dixing'') because of its resemblance to a bird's foot or footprint. Similar comparisons had been made by J.F. Hewitt in 1907, as well as a 1908 article in ''Good Housekeeping''. Kobres goes on to suggest an association of mythological birds and comets also outside of China.


Four winds

In Native American culture, particularly among the Pima people of Arizona, the swastika is a symbol of the four winds. Anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing noted that among the Pima the symbol of the four winds is made from a cross with the four curved arms (similar to a broken
sun cross A sun cross, solar cross, or wheel cross is a solar symbol consisting of an equilateral cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertical ...

sun cross
), and concludes "the right-angle swastika is primarily a representation of the circle of the four wind gods standing at the head of their trails, or directions."


Prehistory

The earliest known swastika is from 10,000 BCEpart of "an intricate meander pattern of joined-up swastikas" found on a late paleolithic figurine of a bird, carved from mammoth ivory, found in Mezine, Ukraine. It has been suggested that this swastika may be a stylised picture of a stork in flight. As the carving was found near Phallus, phallic objects, this may also support the idea that the pattern was a fertility symbol. In the mountains of Iran, there are swastikas or spinning wheels inscribed on stone walls, which are estimated to be more than 7,000 years old. One instance is in Khorashad, Birjand, on the holy wall Lakh Mazar. Mirror-image swastikas (clockwise and counter-clockwise) have been found on ceramic pottery in the Devetashka cave, Bulgaria, dated to 6,000 BCE. Some of the earliest archaeological evidence of the swastika in the Indian subcontinent can be dated to 3,000 BCE. The investigators put forth the hypothesis that the swastika moved westward from India to Finland, Scandinavia, the Scottish Highlands and other parts of Europe. In England, neolithic or Bronze Age stone carvings of the symbol have been found on Ilkley Moor, such as the Swastika Stone. Swastikas have also been found on pottery in archaeological digs in Africa, in the area of Kingdom of Kush, Kush and on pottery at the Jebel Barkal temples, in Iron Age designs of the northern Caucasus (Koban culture), and in Neolithic China in the Majiabang culture, Majiabang and Majiayao culture, Majiayao cultures. Other Iron Age attestations of the swastika can be associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans, Indo-European cultures such as the Illyrians, Indo-Iranians, Celts, Ancient Greeks, Greeks, Swastika (Germanic Iron Age), Germanic peoples and Slavs. In Sintashta culture's "Country of Towns", ancient Proto-Indo-Europeans, Indo-European settlements in southern Russia, it has been found a great concentration of some of the oldest swastika patterns. The swastika is also seen in Egypt during the Coptic period. Textile number T.231-1923 held at the V&A Museum in London includes small swastikas in its design. This piece was found at Qau-el-Kebir, near Asyut, and is dated between CE 300 and 600. The ''Tierwirbel'' (the German for "animal whorl" or "whirl of animals") is a characteristic motif in Bronze Age Central Asia, the Eurasian Steppe, and later also in Iron Age Scythian and Iron Age Europe, European (Baltic peoples, Baltic and Germanic peoples, Germanic) culture, showing rotational symmetric arrangement of an Animal style, animal motif, often four birds' heads. Even wider diffusion of this "Asiatic" theme has been proposed, to the Pacific and even North America (especially Moundville Archaeological Site, Moundville). File:The petroglyph with swastikas, in Geghama mountains, Armenia.jpg, The petroglyph with swastikas, Gegham mountains, Armenia File:IndusValleySeals swastikas.JPG, Swastika seals from the
Indus Valley Civilisation , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...
preserved at the British Museum File:Samarra bowl.jpg, The
Samarra Samarra ( ar, سَامَرَّاء, ') is a city in Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a c ...
bowl, at the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin. The swastika in the centre of the design is a reconstruction.


Historical use

In Asia, the swastika symbol first appears in the archaeological record around 3000 BCE in the Indus Valley Civilisation. It also appears in the Bronze Age, Bronze and Iron Age cultures around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. In all these cultures, the swastika symbol does not appear to occupy any marked position or significance, appearing as just one form of a series of similar symbols of varying complexity. In the Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrian religion of Ancient Persia, Persia, the swastika was a symbol of the revolving sun, infinity, or continuing creation. It is one of the most common symbols on Mesopotamian coins. The icon has been of spiritual significance to Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The swastika is a sacred symbol in the Bön religion, native to Tibet.


South Asia


Buddhism

In
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...
, the swastika is considered to symbolise the auspicious footprints of the Buddha. The left-facing sauwastika is often imprinted on the chest, feet or palms of
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...
images. It is an aniconic symbol for the Buddha in many parts of Asia and homologous with the Dharmachakra, ''dharma wheel''. The shape symbolises eternal cycling, a theme found in the ''Saṃsāra (Buddhism), samsara'' doctrine of Buddhism. The swastika symbol is common in esoteric Buddhism, esoteric tantric traditions of Buddhism, along with Hinduism, where it is found with chakra theories and other meditative aids. The clockwise symbol is more common, and contrasts with the counter clockwise version common in the Tibetan Bon tradition and locally called ''yungdrung''.


Hinduism

The swastika is an important Hindu symbol. The swastika symbol is commonly used before entrances or on doorways of homes or temples, to mark the starting page of financial statements, and mandalas constructed for rituals such as weddings or welcoming a newborn. The swastika has a particular association with Diwali, being drawn in ''rangoli'' (coloured sand) or formed with deepak lights on the floor outside Hindu houses and on wall hangings and other decorations. In the diverse traditions within Hinduism, both the clockwise and counterclockwise swastika are found, with different meanings. The clockwise or right hand icon is called ''swastika'', while the counterclockwise or left hand icon is called ''sauwastika'' or ''sauvastika''. The clockwise swastika is a solar symbol (Surya), suggesting the motion of the Sun in India (the northern hemisphere), where it appears to enter from the east, then ascend to the south at midday, exiting to the west. The counterclockwise ''sauwastika'' is less used; it connotes the night, and in tantric traditions it is an icon for the goddess
Kali Kali (; sa, काली, ), also known as Dakshina Kālikā ( sa, दक्षिण कालिका), is a Hinduism, Hindu goddess, who is considered to be the Master of death, time and change. She is also said to be the Parvati, that ...

Kali
, the terrifying form of Devi Durga. The symbol also represents activity, karma, motion, wheel, and in some contexts the lotus. According to Norman McClelland its symbolism for motion and the Sun may be from shared prehistoric cultural roots. A swastika shaped temple tank built in 800 CE by Kamban Araiyan during the reign of Dantivarman is outside the temple complex of Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple (Vishnu temple) in Thiruvallarai, Tiruchirappalli, India. It is one of the important monuments of Pallava dynasty.


Jainism

In
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
, it is a symbol of the seventh ''Tirthankara, tīrthaṅkara'', Suparshvanatha, Suparśvanātha. In the Śvētāmbara tradition, it is also one of the ''ashtamangala, aṣṭamaṅgala'' or eight auspicious symbols. All Jain temples and holy books must contain the swastika and ceremonies typically begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar. Jains use rice to make a swastika in front of statues and then put an offering on it, usually a ripe or dried fruit, a sweet ( hi, मिठाई ), or a coin or currency note. The four arms of the swastika symbolise the four places where a soul could be reborn in ''Saṃsāra (Jainism), samsara'', the cycle of birth and death''svarga'' "heaven", ''Naraka (Jainism), naraka'' "hell", ''manushya'' "humanity" or ''tiryancha'' "as flora or fauna"before the soul attains ''moksha (Jainism), moksha'' "salvation" as a ''Siddha#Siddha in Jainism, siddha'', having ended the cycle of birth and death and become omniscience, omniscient.


East Asia

The paired swastika symbols (卍 and 卐)) are included, at least since the Liao Dynasty (CE 907–1125), as part of the Chinese character, Chinese writing system and are Variant Chinese character, variant characters for 萬 or 万 (''wàn'' in Mandarin, 만 (''man'') in Korean, Cantonese, and Japanese, ''vạn'' in Vietnamese) meaning "myriad". When the Chinese writing system was introduced to Japan in the 8th century, the swastika was adopted into the Japanese language and culture. It is commonly referred as the ''manji'' (lit. "10,000-character"). Since the Middle Ages, it has been used as a ''mon (emblem), mon'' by various Japanese families such as Tsugaru clan, Hachisuka clan or around 60 clans that belong to Tokugawa clan. On Japanese map symbols, Japanese maps, a swastika (left-facing and horizontal) is used to mark the location of a Buddhist temple. The right-facing swastika is often referred to as the or , and can also be called . In Chinese art, Chinese and Japanese art, the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called ''sayagata'' in Japanese, comprises left- and right-facing swastikas joined by lines. As the negative space between the lines has a distinctive shape, the sayagata pattern is sometimes called the ''key fret'' motif in English.


Northern Europe


Sami

An object very much like a hammer or a double axe is depicted among the magical symbols on the drums of Sami people, Sami shamans, used in their religious ceremonies before Christianity was established. The name of the Sami thunder god was Horagalles, thought to derive from "Old Man Thor" (''Þórr karl''). Sometimes on the drums, a male figure with a hammer-like object in either hand is shown, and sometimes it is more like a cross with crooked ends, or a swastika.


Germanic Iron Age

The swastika shape (also called a ''fylfot'') appears on various Germanic Migration Period and Viking Age artifacts, such as the 3rd-century Værløse Fibula from Zealand, Denmark, the Goths, Gothic spearhead from Brest-Litovsk, today in Belarus, the 9th-century Snoldelev Stone from Ramsø, Denmark, and numerous Migration Period bracteates drawn left-facing or right-facing. The Anglo-Saxon paganism, pagan Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, England, contained numerous items bearing the swastika, now housed in the collection of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The swastika is clearly marked on a hilt and sword belt found at Bifrons in Kent, in a grave of about the 6th century. Hilda Ellis Davidson theorised that the swastika symbol was associated with
Thor In Germanic mythology, Thor (; from non, Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French '' ...

Thor
, possibly representing his Mjolnirsymbolic of thunderand possibly being connected to the Bronze Age sun cross. Davidson cites "many examples" of the swastika symbol from Anglo-Saxon graves of the pagan period, with particular prominence on cremation urns from the cemeteries of East Anglia. Some of the swastikas on the items, on display at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, are depicted with such care and art that, according to Davidson, it must have possessed special significance as a funerary art, funerary symbol. The runic inscription on the 8th-century Sæbø sword has been taken as evidence of the swastika as a symbol of Thor in Norse paganism.


Balto-Slavic

According to painter Stanisław Jakubowski, the "little sun" (Polish ''słoneczko'') is an Early Slavs, Early Slavic pagan symbol of the Sun; he claimed it was engraved on wooden monuments built near the final resting places of fallen Slavs to represent eternal life. The symbol was first seen in his collection of Early Slavic symbols and architectural features, which he named ''Prasłowiańskie motywy architektoniczne'' ( pl, Early Slavic Architectural Motifs). His work was published in 1923, by a publishing house that was then based in the Dębniki district of Kraków. In Russia, before World War I, the swastika was a favorite sign of the last Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse), Alexandra Feodorovna. She placed it where she could for happiness, including drawing it in pencil on the walls and windows in the Ipatiev Housewhere the royal family was executed. There, she also drew a swastika on the wallpaper above the bed where the heir apparently slept. It was printed on some banknotes of the Russian Provisional Government (1917) and some sovznaks (1918–1922). In 1919 it was approved as insignia for the Kalmyk formations, and for a short period had a certain popularity amongst some artists, politics and army groups. Also it was present on icons, vestments and clerical clothing but in World War II it was removed, having become by association a symbol of the German occupation. In modern Russia, the name ''kolovrat'' (russian: коловрат, literally "wheel and axle, spinning wheel"), is popularly associated with the swastika, but there are no ethnographic sources confirming this. Roman Bogdasarov (2001) published a book about the swastika in Russian culture. According to Bogdasarov, Russian names popularly associated with the swastika include ''veterok'' "breeze", ''ognevtsi'' ("little flames"), "geese", "hares" (a towel with a swastika was called a towel with "hares"), or "little horses". The neo-Nazi Russian National Unity group's branch in Estonia is officially registered under the name "Kolovrat" and published an extremist newspaper in 2001 under the same name. A criminal investigation found the paper included an array of racial epithets. One Narva resident was sentenced to one year in jail for distribution of ''Kolovrat''. The Kolovrat has since been used by the Rusich Battalion, a Russian militant group known for its operation during the war in Donbas.


Celts

The bronze frontispiece of a ritual pre-Christian () shield found in the River Thames near Battersea Bridge (hence "Battersea Shield") is embossed with 27 swastikas in bronze and red enamel. An Ogham stone found in Anglish, Co Kerry, Ireland (CIIC 141) was modified into an early Christian gravestone, and was decorated with a cross pattée and two swastikas. The Book of Kells () contains swastika-shaped ornamentation. At the Northern edge of Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire, there is a swastika-shaped pattern engraved in a stone known as the Swastika Stone. A number of swastikas have been found embossed in Galicia (Spain), Galician metal pieces and carved in stones, mostly from the Castro Culture period, although there also are contemporary examples (imitating old patterns for decorative purposes).


Greco-Roman antiquity

Ancient Greek architectural, clothing and coin designs are replete with single or interlinking swastika motifs. There are also gold plate fibula (brooch), fibulae from the 8th century BCE decorated with an engraved swastika. Related symbols in classical Western architecture include the cross, the three-legged triskele or triskelion and the rounded lauburu. The swastika symbol is also known in these contexts by a number of names, especially ''gammadion'', or rather the tetra-gammadion. The name ''gammadion'' comes from its being seen as being made up of four Greek gamma (Γ) letters. Ancient Greek architectural designs are replete with the interlinking symbol. In Art in Ancient Greece, Greco-Roman art and architecture, and in Romanesque architecture, Romanesque and Gothic art in the West, isolated swastikas are relatively rare, and the swastika is more commonly found as a repeated element in a border or tessellation. The swastika often represented perpetual motion, reflecting the design of a rotating windmill or watermill. A meander of connected swastikas makes up the large band that surrounds the Augustus, Augustan Ara Pacis. A design of interlocking swastikas is one of several tessellations on the floor of the Amiens Cathedral, cathedral of Amiens, France. A border of linked swastikas was a common Roman architectural motif, and can be seen in more recent buildings as a neoclassical element. A swastika border is one form of meander (art), meander, and the individual swastikas in such a border are sometimes called Meander (art), ''Greek keys''. There have also been swastikas found on the floors of Pompeii. File:Tetraskele.svg, Greek tetraskelion. Meander Swastika.svg, Swastika meander pattern. Greek Silver Stater of Corinth.jpg, Swastika on a Greek silver stater coin from Ancient Corinth, Corinth, 6th century BCE


Illyrians

The swastika was widespread among the Illyrians, symbolising the Sun. The Sun cult was the main Illyrian cult; the Sun was represented by a swastika in clockwise motion, and it stood for the movement of the Sun.


Armenia

In Armenia the swastika is called the "arevakhach" and "kerkhach" ( hy, կեռխաչ) and is the ancient symbol of eternity and eternal light (i.e. God). Swastikas in Armenia were found on petroglyphs from the copper age, predating the Bronze Age. During the Bronze Age it was depicted on cauldrons, belts, medallions and other items. Among the oldest petroglyphs is the seventh letter of the Armenian alphabet: Է("E" which means "is" or "to be") depicted as a half-swastika. Swastikas can also be seen on early Medieval churches and fortresses, including the principal tower in Armenia's historical capital city of Ani. The same symbol can be found on Armenian carpets, cross-stones (khachkar) and in medieval manuscripts, as well as on modern monuments as a Armenian eternity sign, symbol of eternity.


Medieval and early modern Europe

Swastika shapes have been found on numerous artefacts from Iron Age Europe. File:Bashkort_symbol_of_Sun.svg, Bashkirs symbol of the sun and fertility File:Ancient Roman Mosaics Villa Romana La Olmeda 007 Pedrosa De La Vega - Saldaña (Palencia).JPG, Ancient Roman mosaics of La Olmeda, Spain Swastika2.JPG, Swastika on a Roman mosaic in Brijuni, Veli Brijun, Croatia. Laimas krusts Lielvardes josta.jpg, Swastika on the Lielvārde Belt, Latvia. In Christianity, the swastika is used as a hooked version of the Christian Cross, the symbol of Christ's victory over death. Some Christian churches built in the Romanesque architecture, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, Gothic eras are decorated with swastikas, carrying over earlier Roman designs. Swastikas are prominently displayed in a mosaic in the St. Sophia church of Kyiv, Ukraine dating from the 12th century. They also appear as a repeating ornamental motif on a tomb in the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan. A ceiling painted in 1910 in the church of St Laurent in Grenoble has many swastikas. It can be visited today because the church became the archaeological museum of the city. A proposed direct link between it and a swastika floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens, which was built on top of a pagan site at Amiens, France in the 13th century, is considered unlikely. The Stole (vestment), stole worn by a priest in the 1445 Seven Sacraments Altarpiece, painting of the Seven Sacraments by Rogier van der Weyden presents the swastika form simply as one way of depicting the cross. Swastikas also appear in art and architecture during the Renaissance and Baroque era. The fresco ''The School of Athens'' shows an ornament made out of swastikas, and the symbol can also be found on the facade of the ''Santa Maria della Salute'', a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located at Punta della Dogana in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the city of Venice. In the Polish First Republic the symbol of the swastika was also popular with the nobility. According to chronicles, the Rus' (people), Rus' prince Oleg of Novgorod, Oleg, who in the 9th century Rus'-Byzantine War (907), attacked Constantinople, nailed his shield (which had a large red swastika painted on it) to the city's gates. Several noble houses, e.g. Boreyko, Borzym, and Radziechowski from Ruthenia, also had swastikas as their coat of arms. The family reached its greatness in the 14th and 15th centuries and its crest can be seen in many heraldry books produced at that time. The swastika was also a heraldic symbol, for example on the Boreyko coat of arms, used by noblemen in Poland and Ukraine. In the 19th century the swastika was one of the Russian Empire's symbols, and was used on coinage as a backdrop to the Coat of arms of Russia#1721–1917: Russian Empire, Russian eagle. A swastika can be seen on stonework at Valle Crucis Abbey, near Llangollen. File:jewish swastika.jpg, A swastika composed of Hebrew letters as a mystical symbol from the Jewish Kabbalah, Kabbalistic work "Parashat Eliezer" File:Winchestercathedralheadonwilliamedingtontomb crop.jpg, Swastikas on the vestments of the effigy of Bishop William Edington (d. 1366) in Winchester Cathedral File:Swastika_Stone.svg, The Victorian-era reproduction of the Swastika Stone on Ilkley Moor, which sits near the original to aid visitors in interpreting the carving


Africa

Swastikas can be seen in various African cultures. In Ethiopia the Swastika is carved in the window of the famous 12th Century rock-hewn church Lalibela. In Ghana, the swastika is among the adinkra symbols of the Akan peoples. Called ''nkontim'', swastikas could be found on Ashanti people, Ashanti Akan goldweights, gold weights and clothing. File:Brooklyn Museum 74.218.25 Weight.jpg, Ashanti Empire, Ashanti weight in Africa File:Ghana-nkontim.svg, Nkontim adinkra symbol representing loyalty and readiness to serve. Skastika symbol in the window of Lalibela Rock hewn churches.jpg, Carved fretwork forming a swastika in the window of a Lalibela rock-hewn church in Ethiopia.


Americas

The swastika is a Navajo symbol for good luck, also translated to "whirling log". The symbol was used on state road signs in Arizona.


Early 20th century

In the Western world, the symbol experienced a resurgence following the archaeological work in the late 19th century of
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ...

Heinrich Schliemann
, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and associated it with the ancient migrations of Proto-Indo-Europeans, whose proto-language was not coincidentally termed "Proto-Indo-Germanic" by German language historians. He connected it with similar shapes found on ancient pots in Germany, and theorised that the swastika was a "significant religious symbol of our remote ancestors", linking it to ancient Teutons, Greeks of the time of Homer and Indians of the Vedas, Vedic era. By the early 20th century, it was used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success. Schliemann's work soon became intertwined with the political ''Völkisch movement, völkisch'' movements, which used the swastika as a symbol for the "
Aryan race The Aryan race is a historical race concept which emerged in the late 19th century to describe people of Indo-European heritage as a racial grouping. The concept derives from the notion that the original speakers of the Indo-European langu ...
"a concept that theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg equated with a Nordic race, Nordic master race originating in northern Europe. Since its adoption by the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported th ...
of Adolf Hitler, the swastika has been associated with Nazism, fascism, racism in its (white supremacy) form, the Axis powers in World War II, and
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural syste ...
in much of the West. The swastika remains a core symbol of neo-Nazi groups. The Benedictine choir school at Lambach Abbey, Upper Austria, which Hitler attended for several months as a boy, had a swastika chiseled into the monastery portal and also the wall above the spring grotto in the courtyard by 1868. Their origin was the personal coat of arms of Abbot Theoderich Hagn of the monastery in Lambach, which bore a golden swastika with slanted points on a blue field.


Europe


Britain

In the 1880s the Theosophical Society adopted a swastika as part of its seal, along with an , a hexagram or star of David, an Ankh and an Ouroboros. Unlike the much more recent Raëlian movement, the Theosophical Society symbol has been free from controversy, and the seal is still used. The current seal also includes the text "There is no religion higher than truth." The British author and poet Rudyard Kipling used the symbol on the cover art of a number of his works, including ''The Five Nations'', 1903, which has it twinned with an elephant. Once Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power, Kipling ordered that the swastika should no longer adorn his books.


Denmark

The Danish brewery company Carlsberg Group used the swastika as a logo from the 19th century until the middle of the 1930s when it was discontinued because of association with the Nazi Party in neighbouring Germany. In Copenhagen at the entrance gate, and tower, of the company's headquarters, built in 1901, swastikas can still be seen. The tower is supported by four stone elephants, each with a swastika on each side. The tower they support is topped with a spire, in the middle of which is a swastika.


Iceland

The Swastika, or the Thor's hammer as the logo was called, was used as the logo for Eimskip, H/f. Eimskipafjelag Íslands from its founding in 1914 until the World War II, Second World War when it was discontinued and changed to read only the letters Eimskip.


Ireland

The Swastika Laundry was a laundry founded in 1912, located on Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, a district of Dublin, Ireland. In the 1950s, Heinrich Böll came across a van belonging to the company while he was staying in Ireland, leading to some awkward moments before he realised the company was older than Nazism and totally unrelated to it. The chimney of the boiler-house of the laundry still stands, but the laundry has been redeveloped.


Finland

In Finland, the swastika ( meaning "crooked-head", and later , meaning "hook-cross") was often used in traditional folk-art products, as a decoration or magical symbol on textiles and wood. The swastika was also used by the Finnish Air Force until 1945, and is still used on air force flags. The , an elaboration on the swastika, is used by Scouting, scouts in some instances, and by a student organisation. The Finnish village of Tursa uses the as a kind of a certificate of authenticity on products made there, and is the origin of this name of the symbol (meaning "heart of Tursa"), which is also known as the ("walrus-heart"). Traditional textiles are still made in Finland with swastikas as parts of traditional ornaments.


=Finnish military

= The Finnish Air Force used the swastika as an emblem, introduced in 1918, until January 2017. The type of swastika adopted by the air-force was the symbol of luck for the Swedish count Eric von Rosen, who donated one of its earliest aircraft; he later became a prominent figure in the Swedish Nazi movement. The swastika was also used by the women's paramilitary organisation Lotta Svärd, which was banned in 1944 in accordance with the Moscow Armistice between Finland and the Allies of World War II, allied Soviet Union and United Kingdom, Britain. The President of Finland is the grand master of the Order of the White Rose. According to the protocol, the president shall wear the Grand Cross of the White Rose with collar on formal occasions. The original design of the collar, decorated with nine swastikas, dates from 1918 and was designed by the artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The Grand Cross with the swastika collar has been awarded 41 times to foreign heads of state. To avoid misunderstandings, the swastika decorations were replaced by fir crosses at the decision of president Urho Kekkonen in 1963 after it became known that the President of France Charles De Gaulle was uncomfortable with the swastika collar. Also a design by Gallen-Kallela from 1918, the Order of the Cross of Liberty, Cross of Liberty has a swastika pattern in its arms. The Cross of Liberty is depicted in the upper left corner of the standard of the President of Finland. In December 2007, a silver replica of the World War II-period Finnish air defence's relief ring decorated with a swastika became available as a part of a charity campaign. The original war-time idea was that the public swap their precious metal rings for the state air defence's relief ring, made of iron. In 2017, the old logo of Finnish Air Force Command with Swastika was replaced by a new logo showing golden eagle and a circle of wings. However, the logo of Finland's air force academy still keeps the swastika symbol.


Latvia

The swastika is an ancient Balts, Baltic thunder cross symbol (''pērkona krusts;'' also fire cross, ''''), used to decorate objects, traditional clothing and in Excavation (archaeology), archaeological excavations. Latvia adopted the swastika, for its Latvian Air Force, Air Force in 1918/1919 and continued its use until the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, Soviet occupation in 1940. The cross itself was maroon on a white background, mirroring the colors of the Latvian flag. Earlier versions pointed counter-clockwise, while later versions pointed clock-wise and eliminated the white background. Various other Latvian Army units and the Latvian War College (the predecessor of the National Defence Academy of Latvia, National Defence Academy) also had adopted the symbol in their battle flags and insignia during the Latvian War of Independence. A stylised fire cross is the base of the Order of Lāčplēsis, the highest military decoration of Latvia for participants of the War of Independence. The Pērkonkrusts, an ultra-nationalist political organisation active in the 1930s, also used the fire cross as one of its symbols.


Lithuania

As in Latvia, the symbol is a traditional Baltic ornament, found on relics dating from at least the 13th century.


Sweden

The Swedish company ASEA, now a part of ABB, in the late 1800s introduced a company logo featuring a swastika. The logo was replaced in 1933, when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. During the early 1900s, the swastika was used as a symbol of electric power, perhaps because it resembled a waterwheel or turbine. On maps of the period, the sites of hydroelectric power stations were marked with swastikas.


Norway

Starting in 1917, Mikal Sylten's staunchly anti-semitic periodical, ''Nationalt Tidsskrift (magazine), Nationalt Tidsskrift'' took up the swastika as a symbol, three years before Adolf Hitler chose to do so. The headquarters of the Oslo Municipal Power station, Power Station was designed by architects ''Bjercke and Eliassen'' in 1928–1931. Swastikas adorn its wrought iron gates. The architects knew the swastika as a symbol of ''electricity'' and were probably not yet aware that it had been usurped by the German Nazi party and would soon become the foremost symbol of the German Reich. The fact that these gates survived the cleanup after the German occupation of Norway during WW II is a testimony to the innocence and good faith of the power plant and its architects. The architects Bjercke and Eliassen knew the swastika as a symbol of power plants on maps in Scandinavia, and as the logo of Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget, ASEA.


North America

The swastika motif is found in some traditional Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American art and iconography. Historically, the design has been found in excavations of Mississippian culture, Mississippian-era sites in the Ohio River, Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, and on objects associated with the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex#Motifs, Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (S.E.C.C.). It is also widely used by a number of Southwestern United States, southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo Nation, Navajo, and Plains Indians, plains nations such as the Dakota people, Dakota. Among various tribes, the swastika carries different meanings. To the Hopi it represents the wandering Hopi clan; to the Navajo it is one symbol for the whirling log (''tsin náálwołí''), a sacred image representing a legend that is used in healing rituals. A brightly coloured First Nations saddle featuring swastika designs is on display at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada. The Passamaquoddy, Passamaquoddy Nation, whose country, homeland within Dawnland extends across the Canada–United States border between Maine and New Brunswick, used an elongated swastika on their war canoes in the American colonial period as well as later. A carving of a canoe with a Passamaquody swastika was found in a ruin in the Forest of Argonne, Argonne Forest in France, having been carved there by Moses Neptune, an American soldier of Passamaquody heritage, who was one of the last American soldiers to die in battle in World War I. Before the 1930s, the symbol for the 45th Infantry Division (United States), 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army was a red diamond with a yellow swastika, a tribute to the large Native American population in the southwestern United States. It was later replaced with a Thunderbird (mythology), thunderbird symbol. A swastika shape is a symbol in the culture of the Guna people of Guna Yala, Panama. In Guna tradition it symbolises the octopus that created the world, its tentacles pointing to the four cardinal points. In February 1925, the Guna revolted vigorously against Panamanian suppression of their culture, and in 1930 they assumed autonomy. The flag they adopted at that time is based on the swastika shape, and remains the official flag of Guna Yala. A number of variations on the flag have been used over the years: red top and bottom bands instead of orange were previously used, and in 1942 a ring (representing the traditional Guna nose-ring) was added to the center of the flag to distance it from the symbol of the Nazi party. The town of Swastika, Ontario, Swastika, Ontario, Canada, and the hamlet of Swastika, New York were named after the symbol. From 1909 to 1916, the K-R-I-T automobile, manufactured in Detroit, Michigan, used a right-facing swastika as their trademark. File:William Neptune, Passamaquoddy chief, 1920.jpg, Chief William Neptune of the Passamaquoddy, wearing a headdress and outfit adorned with swastikas File:Native American basketball team crop.jpg, Chilocco Indian Agricultural School basketball team in 1909. File:The Girls Club of Ladies Home Journal 1912 pillow cover (cropped).jpg, Pillow cover offered by the Girls' Club in ''The Ladies Home Journal'' in 1912 File:Fernie Swastikas hockey team 1922.jpg, Fernie Swastikas women's hockey team, 1922 File:Swastika trademark of the Buffum Tool Company of Louisiana.png, The Buffum tool company of Louisiana used the swastika as its trademark. It went out of business in the 1920s File:Flag_of_Kuna_Yala.svg, Flag of the Guna people. File:Flag_of_Kuna_Yala_(1942).svg, Alternate version adopted in 1942.


Nazi symbol


Use in Nazism

The swastika was widely used in Europe at the start of the 20th century. It symbolised many things to the Europeans, with the most common symbolism being of good luck and auspiciousness. In the wake of Western use of the Swastika in the early 20th century, widespread popular usage, in Weimar Republic, post-World War I Germany, the newly established
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported th ...
formally adopted the swastika in 1920. The emblem was a black swastika rotated 45 degrees on a white circle on a red background. This insignia was used on the party's flag, badge, and armband. Before the Nazis, the swastika was already in use as a symbol of German nationalist movements (). José Manuel Erbez says: However, Liebenfels was drawing on an already-established use of the symbol. File:Flag_of_the_Order_of_New_Templars.svg, Flag of the Order of the New Templars designed 1907 with a swastika used as :Völkisch movement, ''völkisch'' (German ethno-nationalist) symbol File:Treu Deutsch Nr. 11 12 10. September 1918 Nachrichten des Deutschen Volksrates Einheit völkischer Verbände Herausgegeben von Dr. Heinrich Pudor. Hakenkreuz early swastika Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig (City Museum) 2015 adjusted.jpg, Heinrich Pudor's ''völkisch'' ''Treu Deutsch'' ('True German') 1918 with a swastika. From the collections of Leipzig City Museum. File:Pre-Nazi Swastika. Stahlhelm M 1916 mit Hakenkreuzbemalung. Marinebrigade Ehrhardt. Lüttwitz-Kapp-Putsch 1920. Deutsches Historisches Museum.jpg, German World War I helmet with swastika used by a member of the :en:Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, a right-wing paramilitary Free Corps, articipating in the :en:Kapp Putsch, Kapp Putsch 1920. In his 1925 work , Adolf Hitler writes: "I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black hooked cross in the middle. After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the hooked cross." When Hitler created a flag for the Nazi Party, he sought to incorporate both the swastika and "those revered colors expressive of our homage to the glorious past and which once brought so much honor to the German nation". (Red, white, and black were the colours of the Flag of Germany#North German Confederation and the German Empire (1867–1918), flag of the old German Empire.) He also stated: "As National Socialists, we see our program in our flag. In red, we see the social idea of the movement; in white, the nationalistic idea; in the hooked cross, the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan race, Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work." The swastika was also understood as "the symbol of the creating, effecting life" () and as "race emblem of Germanism" (). The concept of racial hygiene was an ideology central to Nazism, though it is scientific racism. High-ranking Nazi theorist Alfred Rosenberg noted that the Indo-Aryan peoples were both a model to be imitated and a warning of the dangers of the spiritual and racial "confusion" that, he believed, arose from the proximity of races. The Nazis co-opted the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan master race. On 14 March 1933, shortly after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor of Germany, the NSDAP flag was hoisted alongside Germany's national colors. As part of the Nuremberg Laws, the NSDAP flagwith the swastika slightly offset from centerwas adopted as the sole national flag of Germany on 15 September 1935.


Use by anti-Nazis

During World War II it was common to use small swastikas to mark air-to-air victories on the sides of Allied aircraft, and at least one British fighter pilot inscribed a swastika in his logbook for each German plane he shot down.


Post-World War II stigmatisation

Because of its use by Nazi Germany, the swastika since the 1930s has been largely associated with Nazism. In the aftermath of World War II it has been considered a symbol of hate in the West, and of white supremacy in many Western countries. As a result, all use of it, or its use as a Nazi or hate symbol, is prohibited in some countries, including Germany. In some countries, such as the United States (in the 2003 case ''Virginia v. Black''), the highest courts have ruled that the local governments can prohibit the use of swastika along with other symbols such as cross burning, if the intent of the use is to intimidate others.


Germany

The German and Austrian postwar Strafgesetzbuch, criminal code makes the public showing of the swastika, the sig rune, the Celtic cross (specifically the variations used by white power activists), the , the odal (rune), odal rune and the skull illegal, except for scholarly reasons. It is also censored from the reprints of 1930s railway timetables published by the . The swastikas on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples are exempt, as religious symbols cannot be banned in Germany. A controversy was stirred by the decision of several police departments to begin inquiries against anti-fascists. In late 2005 police raided the offices of the punk rock label and mail order store "Nix Gut Records" and confiscated merchandise depicting crossed-out swastikas and fists smashing swastikas. In 2006 the police department started an inquiry against anti-fascist youths using a placard depicting a person dumping a swastika into a trashcan. The placard was displayed in opposition to the campaign of right-wing nationalist parties for local elections. On Friday, 17 March 2006, a member of the , Claudia Roth reported herself to the German police for displaying a crossed-out swastika in multiple demonstrations against Neo-Nazis, and subsequently got the Bundestag to suspend her immunity from prosecution. She intended to show the absurdity of charging anti-fascists with using fascist symbols: "We don't need prosecution of non-violent young people engaging against right-wing extremism." On 15 March 2007, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany () held that the crossed-out symbols were "clearly directed against a revival of national-socialist endeavors", thereby settling the dispute for the future. On 9 August 2018, Germany lifted the ban on the usage of swastikas and other Nazi symbols in video games. "Through the change in the interpretation of the law, games that critically look at current affairs can for the first time be given a USK age rating," USK managing director Elisabeth Secker told CTV. "This has long been the case for films and with regards to the freedom of the arts, this is now rightly also the case with computer and videogames."


Legislation in other European countries

* Until 2013 in Hungary, it was a criminal misdemeanour to publicly display "totalitarian symbols", including the swastika, the SS insignia, and the Arrow Cross, punishable by custodial arrest. Display for academic, educational, artistic or journalistic reasons was allowed at the time. The communist symbols of hammer and sickle and the red star were also regarded as totalitarian symbols and had the same restriction by Hungarian criminal law until 2013. * In Latvia, public display of Nazi and Soviet symbols, including the Nazi swastika, is prohibited in public events since 2013. However, in a court case from 2007 a regional court in Riga held that the swastika can be used as an ethnographic symbol, in which case the ban does not apply. * In Lithuania, public display of Nazi and Soviet symbols, including the Nazi swastika, is an administrative offence, punishable by a fine from 150 to 300 euros. According to judicial practice, display of a non-Nazi swastika is legal. * In Poland, public display of Nazi symbols, including the Nazi swastika, is a criminal offence punishable by up to eight years of imprisonment. The use of the swastika as a religious symbol is legal.


Attempted ban in the European Union

The European Commission, European Union's Executive Commission proposed a European Union-wide anti-racism law in 2001, but European Union states failed to agree on the balance between prohibiting racism and freedom of expression. An attempt to ban the swastika across the EU in early 2005 failed after objections from the British Government and others. In early 2007, while Germany held the European Union presidency, Berlin proposed that the European Union should follow German Criminal Law and criminalise the Holocaust denial, denial of the Holocaust and the display of Nazi symbols including the swastika, which is based on the Ban on the Symbols of Unconstitutional Organisations Act. This led to an opposition campaign by Hindu groups across Europe against a ban on the swastika. They pointed out that the swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. The proposal to ban the swastika was dropped by Berlin from the proposed Fundamental Rights Agency, European Union wide anti-racism laws on 29 January 2007.


Latin America

* The manufacture, distribution or broadcasting of the swastika, with the intent to propagate Nazism, is a crime in Brazil as dictated by article 20, paragraph 1, of federal statute 7.716, passed in 1989. The penalty is a two to five years prison term and a fine. * The former flag of the Guna Yala autonomous territory of Panama was based on a swastika design. In 1942 a ring was added to the centre of the flag to differentiate it from the symbol of the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported th ...
(this version subsequently fell into disuse).


United States

The public display of Nazi-era German flags (or any other flags) is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of speech. The Nazi ''Reichskriegsflagge'' has also been seen on display at white supremacist events within United States borders, side by side with the Flags of the Confederate States of America#Battle flag, Confederate battle flag. As with many neo-Nazi groups across the world, the American Nazi Party used the swastika as part of its flag before its first dissolution in 1967. The symbol was chosen by the organisation's founder, George Lincoln Rockwell. It was "re-used" by successor organisations in 1983, without the publicity Rockwell's organisation enjoyed. The swastika, in various iconographic forms, is one of the hate symbols identified in use as graffiti in US schools, and is described as such in a 1999 US Department of Education document, "Responding to Hate at School: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors and Administrators", edited by Jim Carnes, which provides advice to educators on how to support students targeted by such hate symbols and address hate graffiti. Examples given show that it is often used alongside other white supremacist symbols, such as those of the Ku Klux Klan, and note a Triskelion, "three-bladed" variation used by White power skinhead, skinheads, white supremacists, and "Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, some South African extremist groups". In 2010 the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) downgraded the swastika from its status as a Jewish hate symbol, saying "We know that the swastika has, for some, lost its meaning as the primary symbol of Nazism and instead become a more generalised symbol of hate." The ADL notes on their website that the symbol is often used as "shock graffiti" by juveniles, rather than by individuals who hold white supremacist beliefs, but it is still a predominant symbol amongst American white supremacists (particularly as a tattoo design) and used with anti-Semitic intention.


Media

In 2010, Microsoft officially spoke out against use of the swastika by players of the first-person shooter ''Call of Duty: Black Ops''. In ''Black Ops'', players are allowed to customise their name tags to represent, essentially, whatever they want. The swastika can be created and used, but Stephen Toulouse, director of Xbox Live policy and enforcement, said players with the symbol on their name tag will be banned (if someone reports it as inappropriate) from Xbox Live. In the ''Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular'' in Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, the swastikas on German trucks, aircraft and actor uniforms in the reenactment of a scene from ''Raiders of the Lost Ark'' were removed in 2004. The swastika has been replaced by a stylised Christian cross variants#Basic forms, Greek cross. Nazi imagery was adapted and incorporated into the 2016 sci-fi movie ''2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be''.


Contemporary use


Asia


Central Asia

In 2005, authorities in Tajikistan called for the widespread adoption of the swastika as a national symbol. President Emomali Rahmonov declared the swastika an Aryan symbol, and 2006 "the year of Aryan culture", which would be a time to "study and popularise Aryan contributions to the history of the world civilisation, raise a new generation (of Tajiks) with the spirit of national self-determination, and develop deeper ties with other ethnicities and cultures".


East and Southeast Asia

In East Asia, the swastika is prevalent in Buddhist monasteries and communities. It is commonly found in Buddhist temples, religious artefacts, texts related to Buddhism and schools founded by Buddhist religious groups. It also appears as a design or motif (singularly or woven into a pattern) on textiles, architecture and various decorative objects as a symbol of luck and good fortune. The icon is also found as a sacred symbol in the Bon tradition, but in the left-facing orientation. Many Chinese folk religion, Chinese religions make use of the swastika symbol, including Guiyidao and Shanrendao. The Red Swastika Society, which is the philanthropic branch of Guiyidao, runs two schools in Hong Kong (the Hong Kong Red Swastika Society Tai Po Secondary School and the Hong Kong Red Swastika Society Tuen Mun Primary School) and one in Singapore (Red Swastika School, a primary school). each has the swastika in their logos. Among the predominantly Hindu population of Bali, in Indonesia, the swastika is common in temples, homes and public spaces. Similarly, the swastika is a common icon associated with Buddha's footprints in Theravada Buddhist communities of Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia. In Japan, the swastika is also used as a List of Japanese map symbols, map symbol and is designated by the Survey Act and related Japanese governmental rules to denote a Buddhist temple. Japan has considered changing this symbols due to occasional controversy and misunderstanding by foreigners. The symbol is sometimes censored in international versions of Japanese works, such as anime. Censorship of this symbol in Japan and in Japanese media abroad has been subject to occasional controversy related to freedom-of-speech, with critics of the censorship arguing it does not respect history nor freedom of speech. The city of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture designates this symbol as its official flag, which stemmed from its use in the emblem of the Tsugaru clan, the lords of Hirosaki Domain during the Edo period.


Indian subcontinent

In Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the swastika is common. Temples, businesses and other organisations, such as the Buddhist libraries, Ahmedabad Stock Exchange and the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, use the swastika in reliefs or logos. Swastikas are ubiquitous in Indian and Nepalese communities, located on shops, buildings, transport vehicles, and clothing. The swastika remains prominent in Hindu ceremonies such as weddings. The left facing ''sauwastika'' symbol is found in tantric rituals. Musaeus College in Colombo, Sri Lanka, a Buddhist girls' school, has a left facing swastika in their school logo. In India, ''Swastik'' and ''Swastika'', with their spelling variants, are first names for males and females respectively, for instance with Swastika Mukherjee. The Emblem of Bihar contains two swastikas. In Bhutan, swastika motif is found in its architecture, fabric and religious ceremonies.


Western misinterpretation of Asian use

Since the end of the 20th century, and through the early 21st century, confusion and controversy has occurred when personal-use goods bearing the traditional Jain, Buddhist, or Hindu symbols have been exported to the West, notably to North America and Europe, and have been interpreted by purchasers as bearing a Nazi symbol. This has resulted in several such products having been boycotted or pulled from shelves. When a ten-year-old boy in Lynbrook, New York, Lynbrook, New York, bought a set of Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon cards imported from Japan in 1999, two of the cards contained the left-facing Buddhist swastika. The boy's parents misinterpreted the symbol as the right-facing Nazi swastika and filed a complaint to the manufacturer. Nintendo of America announced that the cards would be discontinued, explaining that what was acceptable in one culture was not necessarily so in another; their action was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League who recognised that there was no intention to offend, but said that international commerce meant that, "Isolating [the Swastika] in Asia would just create more problems." In 2002, Christmas crackers containing plastic toy red pandas sporting swastikas were pulled from shelves after complaints from customers in Canada. The manufacturer, based in China, said the symbol was presented in a traditional sense and not as a reference to the Nazis, and apologised to the customers for the cross-cultural mixup. In 2020, the retailer Shein (company), Shein pulled a necklace featuring a left-facing swastika pendant from its website after receiving backlash on social media. The retailer apologized for the lack of sensitivity but noted that the swastika was a Buddhist symbol.


New religious movements

Besides its use as a religious symbol in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...
and
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduis ...

Jainism
, which can be traced back to pre-modern traditions, the swastika is also used by adherents of a large number of new religious movements which were established in the modern period. * The Raëlism, Raëlian Movement, whose adherents believe extraterrestrials created all life on earth, use a symbol that is often the source of considerable controversy: an interlaced star of David and a swastika. The Raelians say the Star of David represents infinity in space whereas the swastika represents infinity in timeno beginning and no end in time, and everything being cyclic. In 1991, the symbol was changed in order to remove the swastika, out of respect to the victims of
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural syste ...
, but as of 2007 it has been restored to its original form. * The Falun Gong qigong movement uses a symbol that features a large swastika surrounded by four smaller (and rounded) ones, interspersed with yin and yang, yin-and-yang symbols. * The swastika is a holy symbol in Heathenry (new religious movement), Germanic Heathenry, along with the Mjölnir, hammer of Thor and runes. This traditionwhich is found in Scandinavia, Germany, and elsewhereconsiders the swastika to be derived from a Norse symbol for the sun. Their use of the symbol has led people to accuse them of being a neo-Nazi group. * A "fire cross" is used by the Baltic region, Baltic Neopaganism, neo-pagan movements Dievturība in Latvia and Romuva (religion), Romuva in Lithuania. * A variant of the swastika, the eight-armed ''Kolovrat (symbol), kolovrat'', is a commonly-used symbol in Rodnovery, which is practiced in Slavic countries. It represents the sun and the creator deities Rod (deity), Rod and Svarog.


See also

* Borjgali * Brigid's cross * Camunian rose * Fasces * Fascist symbolism * Svarog * Svastikasana * Swastika curve * Yoke and arrows


References


Further reading

* *
History of the Swastika
''(US Holocaust Memorial Museum)''
The Origins of the Swastika
''BBC News'' * {{Authority control Swastika, Cross symbols Crosses in heraldry Hindu symbols Buddhist symbols Jain symbols Nazi symbolism Religious symbols Symbols of Indian religions Symbols of Nazi Germany Talismans Visual motifs Magic symbols White nationalist symbols Rotational symmetry