The Swastika: The Earliest Known Symbol & its Migrations
Definitions, Description & Origin
According to Professor Goodyear, (1) these bent sepals of the lotus were exaggerated and finally became spirals, (2) which, being projected at a tangent, made volutes, and continuing one after the other , as shown in fig. 20, formed bands of ornament; or, (3) being connected to right and left, spread the ornament overran extended surface as in fig. 21. One of his paths of evolution closed these volutes and dropped the connecting tangent, when they formed the concentric rings of which we see so much. Several forms of Egyptian scarabæi, showing the evolution of concentric rings, are shown in figs. 22, 23, and 24.
By another path of the
evolution of his theory, on has only to square the spiral volutes, and
the result is the Greek fret shown in fig. 25. (4) The Greek fret has only to be doubled, when it produces the Swastika shown
in fig. 26. (5) Thus
we have, according to him the origins of the Swastika, as shown in figs.
27 and 28. (6) Professor Goodyear is authority for the statement that the earliest dated
instances of the isolates scroll is in the fifth dynasty of Egypt, and
of the lotus and spiral is in the eleventh dynasty. The spiral of fig.
19 (above) belongs th the twelfth dynasty. (7)
Professor Good year devotes an entire chapter to the Swastika. On pages 352, 353 he says:
There is no proposition in archæology which can be so easily demonstrated as the assertion that the Swastika was originally a fragment of the Egyptian meander, provided Greek geometric vases are called in evidence. The connection between the meander and the Swastika has been long since suggested by Prof. A. S. Murray. (8) Hindu specialists have suggested that the Swastika produced the meander. Birdwood (9) says: "I believe the Swastika to be the origine of the key pattern ornament of Greek and Chinese decorative art." Zmigrodski, in a recent publication, (10) has not only repropsed this derivation of the meander, but has connected the Mycenæ spirals with this supposed development, and has proposed to change the name of the spiral oranment accordingly.
* * The Equivalence of the Swastika witht the meander pattern is suggested,
in the first instance, by its appearance in the shape of the meander of
the Rhodian (pl. 28, fig. 7), Melian (pl, 60 fig. 8), arcæie Greek (pl.
60, fig. 9, and pl. 61, fig. 12)m, and Greek geometric vases (pl. 56).
The appearance in shape of the meander may be verified in the British
Museum on one geometric vase of the oldest type, and it also occurs in
On page 354, Goodyear says:
The solar significance of the Swastika is proven by the Hindu coins of the Jains. Its generative significance is proven by a leaden statuette from Troy. It is an equivalent of the lotus (pl. 47 figs. 1, 2, 3), of the solar diagram (pl. 57, fig.12, and pl. 60, fig. 8), of the rosette (pl. 20, fig. 8), of concentric rings (pl. 47, fig. 11), of the spiral scroll (pl. 34, fig. 8, and pl. 39, fig. 2) of the geometric boss (pl. 48, fig. 12), of the triangle (pl. 46, fig. 5), and of the anthemion (pl. 28, fig 7, and pl. 30, fig. 4). It appears with the solar deer (pl. 60, figs. 1 and 2), with the solar antelope (pl. 37, fig. 9), with the symbolic fish (pl. 42, fig. 1), with the ibex (pl. 37, fig. 4) with the solar sphinx (pl. 34, fig. 8), with the solar lion (pl. 30, fig. 4), the solar ram (pl. 28, fig 7), and the solar horse (pl. 61, figs. 1, 4, 5, and 12). Its most emphatic and constant association is with the solar bird. (pl. 60, fig. 15; fig. 173).
1. "The Grammar of the Lotus," pl. 8, p. 81. [Back]
2. Ibid., pp. 82-94. [Back]
3. Ibid., p. 96. [Back]
4. Ibid., pp. x, figs. 7-9, p.97. [Back]
5. Ibid., p. 354 [Back]
6. Ibid., p. 353 [Back]
7. Ibid., p. 354, fig. 174. [Back]
8. Cesnola, "Cyprus, its Ancient Cities, Tombs, and Temples, " p. 410. [Back]
9. "Industrial Arts of India," p. 107. [Back]
10. "Zur Geschiehte der Swastika." [Back]