Swastika

Swastika

(1/60, F4, ISO800, 17mm)

UPDATE: this was never intended to offend anyone and this article explains the meanings and history of the symbol:
http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htm
(Thanks, Carlos)
This version of the symbol is the opposite direction as the evil one.

ORIGINAL: A see-through of our (new) antique Chinese cabinet.

The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit svastika.

It is composed of su meaning “good, well” and asti a verbal abstract to the root as “to be”; svasti thus means “well-being”.
The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and suastika might thus be
translated literally as “that which is associated with well-being¨.

78 thoughts on “Swastika

  1. An absolutely stunning image Ron.
    I love how the two layers interact with one another and how the light plays across the surface from left to right. Frontal images of patterns can be quite static, but this one is very dynamic.

    • Thanks very much, bjorn, totally agree that if it wasnt fot this look through and extra light and trhough the cabinet i dont think i would think it was good enough to post, although the woodcarving is art too.

  2. Since my time in Asia, I have begun to see the beauty of this ancient symbol and the significance meaning it has for the Buddhist, Hindi and others… Yes, there is that horrendous period of time of the Nazis who hi-jacked this symbol ~ but that should not overshadow the rich and beautiful history is has had for millenniums. Great post.

  3. Lovely image. I would have thought anyone who knows anything would know this symbol has been used for along time, by many cultures, as several have stated above. I have even seen it here in the Americas on some older native pottery. Hopi, Comanche, Mohican, Sioux and Apache used it, and several others.

    • Thanks, Robert! Before reading the wikipedia on it I wasnt aware of the usage by the indians as well, but it seems to be a very universal sign way before the evil connotation came in…
      Nice to know you´ve seen it first hand as well!
      Greetings from KL, Ron.

  4. Wow – you certainly generated some feedback here! As dnikias said – it’s a shame that so many of us are “so dominated by our emotionalism and narrow minded, short sighted opinions which tend to be very poorly informed”. A little more open mindedness and understanding of other cultures would go a long way to solving many problems in this world.
    As for the photograph – I love the warm colours and perfect framing of the second swastika within the first. Well observed and captured. If I were more ‘arty farty’😀 I’m sure I could come up with something about the meaning of the symbol being trapped within the confines of our/the initial view/impression …. but I’m not so I’ll leave that to others!

    • Hi Noeline, definitely didn´t expect so much controversy here as I thought it was obvious we´re looking at the asian version of it, totally agree that David´s comment is spot on, very wise words in my opinion!
      Thanks for taking such a thorough look at the photo itself; I wanted something where the panel on the other side was incorporated in the front one and for me that was more about the geometrical visuals than anything phylosophical😉 But I really like your interpretation of the entrapment of our first impression!
      Thank you for the support and hope all is great in the UK.
      Greetings, Ron.

    • Definitely is, Laurie, about time the universal meaning became more important again, like others said, you cannot blame a symbol for human´s atrocities!
      Thanks for liking the photo regardless, have a good weekend, Ron.

    • Oh yeah, i hope so too, Alexander and with the people on this side of the planet worshipping it on and on…
      Thanks for stopping by, greetz, Ron.

    • Thanks for taking a look at the photo😉
      It seems even more controversial than I thought before posting; definitely very interesting to see all the opinions and feelings about it!
      Have a great weekend, John

  5. I tend to agree with Lee. The swastika is now associated with evil, destruction and genocide. At least in Western European cultures. I do understand yourview point about it being used in temples as a symbol of good. I suppose it’s the yin and yang.

    • Hello Carol, it definitely is a yin and yang in extreme where one half of the world sees it as one of the most evil signs around and the other half prays to its good!
      Thanks for stopping by and don´t think I would ever downplay any feelings anyone would have about it, just acknowledging both sides…
      Have a great day, Ron.

    • Thanks so much for saying that Kamila! I wanted to show the woodcarving and see-thru that I loved about this cabinet!
      Have a great week, greetz, Ron.

  6. Beautiful picture Ron and nice to know this is a view of a Chinese cabinet. Intriguing is the Chinese connection for this design🙂
    Thanks for the share and cheers.

    • Hi Dilip, thanks for the compliment! When we were looking for a cabinet and visited this chines antique shop it was more like a museum and we got some great info about the Chinese religions that used these symbols in lots of their woodcarving; most of all i was intrigued with the pattern it created here!
      Cheers to you too, have a great week, Ron

  7. No one can deny the swastika represents a history of oppression and evil perpetrated by the Nazi Party. However, like all images the swastika has a long history, one that predates World War II and the Holocaust. It may be difficult for someone whose family suffered during the Holocaust to see that and I can understand why it might be impossible to separate what the swastika represented. I hope someday the swastika loses its Nazi association because that is really a beautiful picture.

    It’s a bit like the robes worn by the KKK here that are worn by the brotherhoods during Semana Santa in Spain. Those robes have been worn for hundreds of years in Spain for religious processions. Only recently did they become a symbol for an organization of hate and racism here in the States.

    • Thank you, Amelie, for your thoughts and glad you still like the photograph; i totally understand the significance of the symbol, cuz I grew up in Holland and my upbringin and education was filled with the atrocities of our neighbours. I dont think it will ever loose its nazi associtation but as many of the people that witnessed the horror first hand are arent around anymore the stories will become more history. I thought it was interesting that it doesnt hold any of that association in Asia and people admire and see it as a good sign, weird contradiction!

      I know what you mean by the KKK robes; when I was living in Zaragoza and the processions came thru our street in all colors the white robes were the ones that didnt remind me of anything else than the KKK; again the Spaniards I knew and talked with didnt have any of those feelings it was much older and profound for them than the usage elsewhere…

      Thanks again for stopping by and your much appreciated thoughts,
      Greetings, Ron

  8. Just take a walk through Wikipedia and you’ll learn plenty about the symbol. Although its infamy is due to its use by the Nazi party, its use is far older and more honorable than that.

    • Hello Ray, thats why I thought at first a link to Wiki would be enough info, but first feels count too😉
      But once you start researching about its history and different uses it keeps expanding; very interesting in my opinion!
      Thanks for stopping by, greetings, Ron.

  9. I love what noir33 said…I find reading these comments fascinating, and agree that it’s a beautiful photo though, as many have said it’s difficult for us to divorce the beautiful image from the horrible connotations

    • That was very well said indeed, loved it too! Thanks for looking at the photo and trying to think of it without its evil connotations!
      Have a great day, Ron.

  10. The knee jerk emotional reaction to such things like an ancient, dynamic, and overwhelmingly positive symbol such as a swastika is frustrating to say the least. This symbol is extremely prevalent where I am here in India and no one connects it with the horrors of Nazi atrocities – that is a western hang up which seems to have grown from our own guilt that we allowed it to happen. Here in India and throughout Asia, it is a very common, everyday symbol which is used extensively for it is seen in it’s true light, a symbol of powerful good and a reflection of the cyclic nature of life.
    I don’t hear anyone condemning the cross even though it was used as a symbol for the horrific atrocities committed by not-so-forgiving Christians during the crusades, the Inquisition, and the “holy” wars of the middle ages which are very much on a par with the evil of the Nazis in terms of their genocidal ideology, brutality, cruelty, and brazen bigotry. No, throughout the world the cross is seen for what it is, a symbol representing the active and passive principles in the cosmos, the intersection of earthly and cosmic forces and is used in virtually every culture throughout history. Christians only adopted this archetypal symbol for their own purposes and for obvious and understandable reasons. In this light, the swastika is no different for Hitler understood something of it’s esoteric significance and power seeking to use it for his own evil purposes.
    Yes, it is very unfortunate that such a despicable ideology as the Nazis utilized it for such profoundly evil purposes but as I say, there are those who have done the same with the cross. That doesn’t make the symbol itself evil for that kind of negativity can only take root in the blackened hearts of men, not in a series of intersecting lines.
    Perhaps we should wake up a little and act as fully conscious beings and not be so dominated by our emotionalism and narrow minded, short sighted opinions which tend to be very poorly informed. The world is not black and white – “either you’re with us or you’re against us” is such a manipulative lie – fundamentalism and the rise of neo tribalism founded on bigotry and biased opinions are a crushing burden in our times but we can move beyond that if we choose to. Certainly I condemn the evil of national socialism but when I see a swastika, I don’t automatically think of Nazis but rather I think of thousands of years of pious devotion going back before the Egyptians and an attempt to reflect the cyclic wonders of the cosmos – a symbol striving to instill and inspire our temporal lives here on earth with universal rhythms and awaken us to something much greater than our own contrived cleverness.
    Thanks for the beautiful pics – keep up the great work.

    • Wow, David, thats very well said, wish I had the words to express myself like that. Couldnt agree with you more and especially your Christian cross comparison strikes the perfect chord in my opinion! I guess travelling in seeing and living in other places makes one see things from more angles than staying in their own environments, at least it makes it much more difficult to understand other points of view. Thanks very much for your thought my friend, adds so much more to the photo than I could ever have written.
      Cheers and greetings, Ron.

      • I’m glad my words are so well received – yes, travel broadens, warms, and strengthens both the mind and heart – keep up the great work!
        Blessings
        DN

  11. A beautiful pattern that an artist from these parts (ManWoman) was trying to resurrect for its good connotations rather than association with the Nazis. This is a lovely shot. Thanks for bringing light to this symbol.

    • Hello Jane, thanks for pointiin me to ManWoman, interesting quest he is on, dont know if I would go that far in decorating my body with it though😉
      Thank you for the compliment and glad to hear you could see through the evil connotation!
      Have a great week, Ron.

  12. I’ve known for quite some time about the original meaning of the symbol. What is missing is the story of the path it took to become an evil symbol. Would love to know how that happened…what was the strategy behind it.

    • Hola Alli, the story how it got to be used by the Nazis is down in the link i added.
      Thanks for taking a look!
      Have a good week, Ron.

    • Hi Carlos, thanks for the article, my link referred to the wikipedia which is pretty explanatory, but I will write a little extra to make things more sure, cuz indeed it´s not my intention to annoy visitors! For me its so interesting living in a country where it´s commonly used, while growing up in a country which was in the middle of WOII and reading, learning and hearing so much about the evil use! Also to me its obvious this is the mirrored version (compared to the evil one), but ofcourse thats maybe a minor difference…
      Thanks for taking a look at the photo itself😉
      Have a good weekend, Ron.

      • I know You have a good heart. And I know you did not want to offend anyone. Mirrored or not, you just can’t divorce what the symbol has come to represent for so many. And…..it is a cool photo.🙂

        C.

        • Thanks very much, Carlos! Totally true that mirrored or not it has this meaning to many, but as interesting as that I think is that it has a totally different meaning to as many others… if you´re interested: the comment above by David (dnikias) is pretty close to what I think and much better said!
          Greetz and a good weekend to you,
          Ron

  13. Beautiful picture. Love the see through to even more swastika’s. And it is always good for ones perspective to see that even a negative western symbol as this has a good meaning in another part of the world.

    • Gracias, amigo! It´s always interesting to try and understand the meaning and opinions of others and different views make for widening the minds and eyes🙂
      Buenos tardes

  14. No matter a more ancient origin, the symbol of the swastika used by Germany’s Nazi party certainly pre-emptemted any more ancient derivative. It’s an offensive, ugly thing to see. I am at once reminded of sadists, untold cruelty, tyranny and murder. I’m not sure what you’re attempting here in suggesting it has a greater purity. Too late for that. It does not.
    If you are slipping down some dark rabbit hole pretending otherwise and trying to foist that on your followers, I hope you find your way out.

    • Hi Barbara, sorry if I offended you or anyone, definitely never my intention!
      To me growing up in the Netherlands the history of WOII and its impact on our country was embedded in my upbringing and left a huge impression, still never skip our National Memorial day, wherever in the world I am, so no worries about me slipping😉
      After my first travels to Asia I was confronted with different uses and forms of this symbol and by now seeing it in Hindu and Buddhist temples and anywhere I go it´s not only connected with that evil side for me anymore and I got to appreciate the geometrical uses and meaning it has for other cultures than mine.
      This version is a mirrored version from the evil one by the way.
      Again, sorry if it offended you, I also thought it made a nice photo!
      Have a great weekend, Ron.

  15. Swastika symbol will never become a beautiful way to express anything. It has an evil past and represented death to millions of people. .

    • Hello Lee,
      Although I understand what you mean, its ´past´ is much much older than the one you are referring too. It also means a good sign for millions of people used in temples, palaces, homes etc for thousands of years all over Asia! And this form is the mirrored version from the evil one!
      Have a good weekend, Ron.

    • Thank you, Angeline, for me it represents good being stronger than evil and the evil version that was used in WOII was a mirrored version of this one!
      Have a great weekend, Ron.

    • Thanks and I totally agree with it being beautiful in all its geometrical uses and I do understand the evil side, but that verion was a mirrored one of this ancient Chinese and Hindu symbol!
      Have a great weekend, Ron.

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