Friday, October 31, 2014

The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption?

20th Century fad: Fruit packaging, a Coca-Cola pendant, and a pack of cards, all from the US

In the Western world the swastika is synonymous with fascism, but it goes back thousands of years and has been used as a symbol of good fortune in almost every culture in the world. As more evidence emerges of its long pre-Nazi history in Europe, can this ancient sign ever shake off its evil associations?

A Hindu boy with a shaved head, and a giant vase at a Buddhist temple in Japan
Fragments of a 12th Century princess's collar
Left: Grecian architectural swastikas in the Kiev museum. Right: Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York)


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