Swas"ti*ka, Swas"ti*ca (?), n. [Also suastica, svastika, etc.] [Skr. svastika, fr. svasti welfare; su well + asti being.]

A symbol or ornament in the form of a Greek cross with the ends of the arms at right angles all in the same direction, and each prolonged to the height of the parallel arm of the cross. A great many modified forms exist, ogee and volute as well as rectilinear, while various decorative designs, as Greek fret or meander, are derived from or closely associated with it. The swastika is found in remains from the Bronze Age in various parts of Europe, esp. at Hissarlik (Troy), and was in frequent use as late as the 10th century. It is found in ancient Persia, in India, where both Jains and Buddhists used (or still use) it as religious symbol, in China and Japan, and among Indian tribes of North, Central, and South America. It is usually thought to be a charm, talisman, or religious token, esp. a sign of good luck or benediction. Max Müller distinguished from the swastika, with arms prolonged to the right, the swavastika, with arms prolonged to the left, but this distinction is not commonly recognized. Other names for the swastika are fylfot and gammadion.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.