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