Sign : Illustration Friday


The name “swastika” is derived from the sanskrit word Su-asti meaning auspiciousness and good fortune and has been in use in India for a few thousand years. It is used as an auspicious sign on hindu temple walls, wedding invitations and religious texts. In more recent times a similar symbol was used by the Nazis and came to represent something completely different. However, in India this continues to be regarded as an auspicious sign.

Check out many more interpretations on


9 thoughts on “Sign : Illustration Friday

  1. I have a hat that has a hatband with the “good” swastikas in a pattern on it. It was also used that way with native americans. 🙂

  2. Sorry – the nazi swastika goes the same way (easy to remember as two crossed S’s). And the ‘good’ ones seem to go in either direction.
    This must be one of the most instantly evocative signs in history. Love the etymology – thanks!

  3. Interesting aproach! I like the effect it has..but reminds of the nazi symbol..which they apropriate from another one that already existed!

  4. Lesley, Sara: You’re right. Thanks for pointing it out. The hindu swastika is similar to the Nazi one except for the 4 dots. I’m updating the post to remove the references to clockwise and counter clockwise. I did some more surfing – the one facing the right is supposed to represent the male and the one pointing towards the left the female!

  5. Thanks for this post. Regardless of how the swastika is done (direction, angle, dots) it’s still a symbol of good things in Native American and Indian and Persian cultures. As a Nazi symbol it is instantly hated but what could be better than taking that power away by celebrating the original meanings?

  6. Thinking of using this symbol in lesson to show the kids where the origional symbol came from, it is nice to know that this is a positive and honourable sign…………… 🙂

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