SWASTIKA — The World ‘s Greatest Logo (or not)

Authors Note: I realize that the Swastika is a controversial symbol offensive to many but the goal of this article is not to promote fascism or any modern day western connotations or offend any cultures. This article explores the historic Worldwide use of the Swastika (positive & negative) through recorded facts.

In all honesty I cannot give an accurate account for the history of this symbol because there are so many different interpretations, myths, legends and stories about its use but the below account is what I have summarized as the probably the Worlds greatest logo.

The beginning of the Swastika.

The swastika has been used by many countries, religions and cultures throughout the thousands of years it’s been in existence. It’s first appearance came through Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, deriving from the Sanskrit text which is recorded as the oldest and only written text to make authentic use of the symbol and term “Swastika” to represent good luck.

Since its origination the symbol has been recreated Worldwide, century after century under various names as a strong symbol of “good”. Its sheer precise over usage makes it (IMHO) possibly the greatest logo of all time. How can you argue with the opinion of a thousand generations?

Today the Swastika is commonly associated as an icon of the Nazi’s movement and it’s pretty hard not to see it in any other light. Hitler used the symbol with such power that the once good hearted and loved Swastika now has a bad stereotype by no fault of its own and it’s a hated and maybe even feared symbol by many.

Its still used today by old and new religions in the same manner and being of Hindu descent myself I’m probably a little more familiar with seeing it with both (western & eastern) associations.

I remember a friend of mine (when I was a lad) asking why I had a swastika in my house. I had of course seen the German Swastika but at that age was not entirely sure what it was. I had unconsciously made a graphically connection between the two versions but never really gave it a second thought. Not until my friend asked me that question did I raise my own questions and realized that I have a Swastika hanging in my house. (I thought, “We’re Hindu Nazi’s? lol).

Soon enough my questions on the German Swastika were answered

in History lessons at school and the Hindu version became apparent at home.

Who used it, where and when?

I knew that Germany and India used the Swastika but not until recently did I relaise that at some point or another its been used by the U.S., China, Russia, Finland and literally every country in the World (even England) with their own interpretation. This again reinforces the point that it must be considered as the world’s greatest logo. How can you argue with the whole World?

So why is the Swastika such a popular symbol? Overall it stands as generically the most positive image in the World of all time. Most people used it for that reason except for Hitler and in doing so he ruined it.

• The British author Rudyard Kipling, who was strongly influenced by Indian culture, had a swastika on the dust jackets of all his books until the rise of Nazism.

• Swastikas also appear on the vestments on the effigy of Bishop William Edington in Winchester Cathedral.

• In September 2007 the United States Navy announced it would spend $600,000 to “camouflage” a barrack at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado near San Diego, so that it would no longer resemble a swastika from the air.

• Native American basketball team in 1909.

• The swastika shape was used by some Native Americans. It has been found in excavations of Mississippian-era sites in the Ohio valley.

• A controversy arose in Maasmechelen, Belgium, when Google Earth users found that a 27 year old fountain at the city council office looks like a swastika from the air. As a result the mayor said he would replace it

• The bronze frontspiece of a ritual pre-Christian (ca 350–50 BC) 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 was modified into an early Christian gravestone, and was decorated with a cross pattée and two swastikas.

• 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.

• In Christianity, the swastika is sometimes used as a hooked version of the Christian Cross, the symbol of Christ’s victory over death.

• Some Christian churches built in the Romanesque and Gothic eras are decorated with swastikas, carrying over earlier Roman designs.

• Iranian neckalace found from Kaluraz in the first millennium BC marked with several swaskitkas

• The swastika symbol was found extensively in the ruins of the ancient city of Troy and can also be found in some of the mosaics in the ruins of Pompeii.

• A meander of connected swastikas makes up the large band that surrounds the Augustan Ara Pacis.

• A design of interlocking swastikas is one of several tessellations on the floor of the cathedral of Amiens, France.

• In Hinduism, the two symbols represent the two forms of the creator god Brahma: facing right it represents the evolution of the universe, facing left it represents the involution of the universe.

• The Hindu deity Ganesh is often shown sitting on a lotus flower on a bed of swastikas.

• The swastika is found all over Hindu temples, Hindu weddings, festivals, ceremonies, houses and doorways, clothing and jewelry, motor transport and even decorations on food items such as cakes and pastries.

• “Swastika” is a prominent literary magazine in Kolkata (Calcutta) is called the Swastika.

• In 1922, the Chinese Syncretist movement Daoyuan founded the philanthropic association Red Swastika Society in imitation of the Red Cross. The association was very active in China during the 1920s and the 1930s.

• Swastikas are prominently displayed in a mosaic in the St. Sophia church of Kiev, 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.

• The stole worn by a priest in the 1445 painting of the Seven Sacraments by Roger van der Weyden presents the swastika form simply as one way of depicting the cross.

• The Swastika is clearly marked on a hilt and sword belt found at Bifrons in Kent, in a grave of about the sixth century.

• In the 19th century the swastika was one of the Russian empire’s symbols; it was even placed in coins as a background to the Russian eagle

• All the Unit Colours of the Finnish Air Force feature the same basic design, with a swastika as a central element. This is the Unit Colour of the Finnish Air Force Academy.

• Latvia adopted the swastika, called the Ugunskrusts (“fire cross”), for its air force in 1918/1919 and continued its use until 1940.

• The use of the swastika in conjunction with any other Nazi allusion, and also its manufacture, distribution or broadcasting, is a crime as dictated by law 7.716/89 from 1989. The penalty is a fine and two to five years in prison.

• The Swastika Laundry, founded in Dublin in 1912, used a swastika in a white circle on a red background as its corporate colour scheme until it was bought over by a rival in the late 1960s.

• Boy Scouts at the prewar (1937) national Scout jamboree in Washington, D.C., using swastikas as part of their Native American portrayal

• The swastika symbol was popular as a good luck or religious/spiritual symbol in the United States

• The Raëlian Movement, who believe that Extra-Terrestrials originally created all life on earth, use a symbol that is often the source of considerable controversy: an interlaced Star of David and a Swastika.

• Tantra-based religious movement Ananda Marga uses a motif similar to the Raëlians, but in their case the apparent star of David is defined as intersecting triangles with no specific reference to Jewish culture

• It was also a symbol used by the scouts in Britain

• During World War I, the swastika was used as the emblem of the British National War Savings Committee.

• The Swedish company ASEA, now a part of Asea Brown Boveri, used the swastika in its logo from the 1800s to 1933, when it was removed from the logo.

• The Icelandic Steamship Company, Eimskip (founded in 1914) used a swastika in its logo until recently.

• In Windsor, Nova Scotia, there was an ice hockey team from 1905–1916 named the Swastikas, and their uniforms featured swastika symbols. There were also hockey teams named the Swastikas in Edmonton, Alberta (circa 1916), and Fernie, British Columbia (circa 1922).

Above are just a few of the thousand recorded facts that I found and its quite amazing how so many people are intrigued by this symbol. Is it the Worlds greatest logo?

The Nazi movement obviously shrowded this symbol with evil and reduced its relevance as the Worlds favourite logo but nether the less many have overcome the modern day stereotype and still use it in its original form for both old and new cultures.

The Swastika has managed to stand the test of time and come through to the 21st century in its natural form. INMHO it can be seen as the World’s favourite logo design.

Originally published at blog.conceptstore.co.uk.