Hex Signs on Hope Chests

Jan 11 09:20 2010 Charity Crouch Print This Article

  One of the more interesting aspects of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture was to paint hex designs on buildings,especially above doorways and on barns, and on hope chests. These beautifully rendered hex designs represented a positive magical charm.

  People of every time period have been superstitious about witches,Guest Posting mainly evil witches that would do them harm. They would take any and every precautionary step necessary to repel witch spells from entering their homes. Some German immigrants that came to Pennsylvania starting in the 1700's used 'hex' designs to ward off evil spells. Hex means witch in German and of course hex is also a Greek root word meaning six. These beautiful six-sided geometric designs,hexagrams, were painted over doorways,on barns and on what was considered a very important piece of furniture, the hope chest.The hope chest, also known as a dowry chest or blanket chest, was the piece of furniture in every newly weds' home which held household items like quilts, bed linen and baby clothes. More importantly, these blanket chests held the family heirlooms as well. So in order to prevent any evil spell damage in the home in case their outside counter measures failed, hope chests were given these beautiful designs. These hex designs were also to ensure good luck for the household. Some groups of German immigrants, such as the Amish and the Mennonites, rarely, if ever, had these types of designs placed on buildings or on their blanket chests. These religious groups were known as the 'plain people' and their lives were ran accordingly. Every aspect of life needed to be plain such as clothing, the interior of their homes and their furniture. They rarely added any embellishments of any type to their possessions. The religious Germanic groups known to wear 'fancy' dress such as the Lutherans and other reformed groups, would have used hex designs on their hope chests. Some historians contend that hex designs were never meant to chase away evil spells, but rather to just add a nice touch to other wise drab furnishings.  Hex signs are normally geometric designs varying from the extremely simple to the complex. Many wood crafters learned to add these symbols to homes and blanket chest furniture in a very stylish manner, incorporating the tree of life, hearts, circles(the sun), birds, stars, foliage and flower design elements. These design symbols had specific meanings so families would incorporate those they favored into a family design for their hope chests. The meanings for the most used of these symbols were: the tree of life for longevity, hearts for love and kindness, tulip for faith, 3 tulips for faith, hope and charity, star for luck, sun wheel for warmth and fertility, the circle for eternity or infinity, doves for peace and contentment, four pointed star for a bright day, eagle for good health, strength and courage, horse head for protecting against animal disease and buildings from lightning strikes, maple leaf for contentment, oak leaf for strength, 4 quarter moons for the seasons of the year, rain drops for fertility, abundance and rain, rosette for good luck and to keep away bad luck and evil, twelve pointed rosette for a joyous month each month of the year, triple star for success, wealth and happiness, unicorn for virtue, piety and the belief in God, wavy border for smooth sailing through life and birds (distelfinks) for good luck.  These designs were very colorful when added tohope chests. This created a warm atmosphere in the room where the blanket chest was placed. Of course the colors chosen for the hex designs also had meanings for these families. Red stood for strong emotions, yellow stood for the love of man, green stood for growing things, blue stood for protection, white stood for purity and brown stood for Mother Earth.  People now use hex designs mainly for decorative uses,especially on blanket chests, although there are those who use them for folk magic. Have fun with these designs. Make one with meaning for yourself and your family. After all, the basic meaning of a hex design is to give oneself good luck. Create a special hope chest for your family by painting your favorite designs on the outside. Blanket Chest Heirlooms.comoffers quality handcrafted blanket chests in many styles to accent in every area of your home.

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Charity Crouch
Charity Crouch

Charity Crouch is an Art History major.
I recommend  Blanket Chest Heirlooms.com which offers the best in handcrafted blanket chests constructed from beautiful hardwoods. These hope chests are a welcome addition to your home with their beautiful styling and quality construction.

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