We are delighted to offer for sale this very rare circa 1840 Chinese hand carved campaign chest with ornate metal strap work depicting the Swastika
A very good looking well made and decorative piece, this is the oldest of its type that I have seen, the metalwork is complete and original, it depicts the swastika in numerous places. One piece of metal I found inside the hidden drawers, I will have it refitted and restored prior to dispatch
The Powerful Symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000 Year History
The swastika is a symbol that was used in the 20th century by one of the most hated men ever to have lived, a symbol that now represents the slaughter of millions of people and one of the most destructive wars on Earth. But Adolf Hitler was not the first to use this symbol. In fact, it was used as a positive and powerful symbol thousands of years before him, across many cultures and continents.
Spiritual Beginning for the Swastika
For the Hindus and Buddhists in India and other Asian countries, the swastika was an important symbol for many thousands of years and, to this day, the symbol can still be seen in abundance - on temples, buses, taxis, and on the cover of books. It was also used in Ancient Greece and Rome, and can be found in the remains of the ancient city of Troy, which existed 4,000 years ago. The ancient Druids and the Celts also used the symbol, reflected in many artefacts that have been discovered. It was used by Nordic tribes, and even early Christians used the Swastika as one of their symbols, including the Teutonic Knights, a German medieval military order, which became a purely religious Catholic Order. But why is this symbol so important and why did Adolf Hitler decide to use it?
Positive Days of the Swastika
The word ‘swastika’ is a Sanskrit word (‘svasktika’) meaning ‘It is’, ‘Well Being’, ‘Good Existence, and ‘Good Luck’. However, it is also known by different names in different countries - like ‘Wan’ in China, ‘Manji’ in Japan, ‘Fylfot’ in England, ‘Hakenkreuz’ in Germany and ‘Tetraskelion’ or ‘Tetragammadion’ in Greece.
In 1979, a Sanskrit scholar P. R. Sarkar said that the deeper meaning of the word is ‘Permanent Victory’. He also said that like any symbol it can have positive and negative meaning depending on how it is drawn. So in Hinduism, the right-hand swastika illustrated below is a symbol of the God Vishnu and the Sun, while the left-hand swastika is a symbol of Kali and Magic.
The double meaning of symbols is common in ancient traditions , like for example the symbol of the pentagram (five pointed star), which is viewed as negative when pointing downwards, and positive when pointing upwards.
12,000 Years of Symbolism
The earliest swastika ever found was uncovered in Mezine, Ukraine, carved on an figurine which dates back an incredible 12,000 years. One of the earliest cultures that are known to have used the Swastika was a Neolithic culture in Southern Europe, in the area that is now Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as the Vinca Culture, which dates back around 8,000 years.
In Buddhism, the swastika is a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, abundance and eternity. It is directly related to Buddha and can be found carved on statues on the soles of his feet and on his heart. It is said that it contains Buddha’s mind.
On the walls of the Christian catacombs in Rome, the symbol of the Swastika appears next to the words “ZOTIKO ZOTIKO” which means “Life of Life”. It can also be found on the window openings of the mysterious Lalibela Rock churches of Ethiopia, and in various other churches around the world.
We have cleaned waxed and polished it, the overall condition is very good for the age, there is wear to the back right corner, a lovely timber patina all over
Please note all measurements are taken at the widest point
This item is available for collection from our Wimbledon warehouses
Please view the very detailed pictures as they form part of the description around condition
Please note vintage period and original items such as leather seating will always have natural patina in the form of cracking creasing and wear, we recommend regular waxing to ensure no moisture is lost, also hand dyed leather is not recommended to sit in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time as it will dry out and fade.