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The skull has always been for many, an object of
fascination throughout the ages. The skull or deaths
head as it is sometimes referred to is the ultimate
symbol of mans mortality. It can be viewed as an object
that invoks fear or danger or an object of reverence for
the departed soul that once inhabited it.
The skull is often displayed in a graphic design by
itself, or with crossed bones beneath it . The skull with
crossed bones below, displayed on a black cloth back
ground make up the pirate's flag commonly known as
the " jolly roger". It is probably the most common and
familiar display of the skull symbol for most people. It
was certainly a most intimidating symbol for the
Carribean pirate who attacked and looted ships.
The skull and crossed bones , in recent times has
often been used as symbol of extreme danger.The skull
and bones can be seen on on many warning signs and
on containers of poisons and toxic chemicals.
The skull in ages long past has also been known to
be symbolically associated with religious beliefs and
practices such as magic, witchcraft , voodoo and the
occult . Some of these practices attribute the skull with
having the ability to invok some mystical power from the
In recent times decorative designs incorporating skull
art forms are finding popular appeal among rebel
subcultures who like to challange the norm.Skulls are
often displayed on rings , necklaces, tatoos, jacket
patches, decals and T-shirts of those making a
statement they feel is best expressed by displaying a
Although the skull has been seen as a strong symbol
for different things things to many people and many
cultures over the ages the skull and the skeleton have a
lighter side. The skull at Halloween is a very popular item
in haunted houses and a favorite design theme for
masks, costumes, lanterns, candies and Halloween
decorations.The skull is supposed to be scary but, its
Another light hearted veiw of the skull is an annual
celebration in Mexico known as the "DAY OF THE
DEAD" . This holiday is a day in which people celebrate
the remembrance of loved ones who have died. Part of
the festivities is the making of skulls from hardened
sugar and then brightly decorating them and taking them
to the grave of the departed.There are parades with
floats, and people in costumes all decorated with brightly
colored skulls and skeletons.
"Alas poor Yoric" enough said .
One of the most famous symbols of Mexico that
many people recognize is the Aztec Calendar.
In the year 1790, in a square,known as the Zocalo,
in Mexico City, while doing excavation for a drainage
system, workers uncovered the massive basalt stone
that has come to be known as the " Aztec Calendar ".
This circular carved stone is 3 feet thick,
approximatly 12 feet in diameter and weights more
than 24 tons. The huge stone disk is decorated with
assorted pictures and geometric symbols arranged in
a series of concentric circles. Symbols of the 20 day
Aztec Calendar are said to encircle the disk. At the
center of the disk is a human like face of the sun god
Tonatiuth with the protruding tongue sticking out in the
form of a knife blade.
The Aztec Calendar, probably due to its
resemblance to a sun dial is also known and often
referred to as the " sunstone" or "stone of the sun."
Some modern scholars believe the Aztec Calendar
was more than a mere calendar, and possibly a map of
the Aztecs destiny, telling when their world began and
when it would end.
The Aztec Calendar is currently stored and on
display in the National Museum of Archaology and
History in Mexico City.
The Foo Dog or Fu Dog is a mythical beast
whose statue and image is prominent through out the
One of the origins of of the name Foo / Fu Dog is
said to be derived from the city Foochow, also known
as Fu-chou. The two different prefixs foo and fu on
the cities two name designations may be the reason
for the two different spellings of Foo Dog.
It is said Foo / Fu Dogs, though refered to as
dogs are really lions, an animal sacred to Buddism.
There are many different artistic renderings of this
mythical beast with some resembling lions more than
The Foo Dog is also known as the Celestial Dog
or Happiness Dog. The dog is usually shown with one
of its paws reaching out and resting on a sphere or
pedestal , as if it were standing guard.
The Foo / Fu Dogs are said to protect humans
from evil spirits and those that would do harm. Their
statues are often placed at the entrances to Buddist
Temples and used to guard tombs. They are also
placed on guard at the front porch entrances of
The dragon is virtually a universal mythical beast
appearing throughout written history. Legends of
dragons appear in writings as far back as the ancient
Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Babylonians.Stories of
Dragons also appear in the literature of the English, Irish,
Norse, Scandinavians and Germans to mention a few
cultures with tales of dragons.
The dragon of legend is often depicted as a giant
reptilian like creature having wings, a long alligator like
tail, huge claws and a breath of fire. Images of dragons
have been seen on many art objects around the world
throughout the ages. The dragons likeness can be seen
on Babyloian landmarks, Roman mosaics , on royal
robes, government seals, on shields and on the fronts of
boats of the ancient Norsemen to mention a few of these
The dragons nature has been depicted in various
ways depending on the mythology and culture of different
people throughout history. Dragons were honored,
respected and revered by some cultures and feared,
hated and despised as a monster to be distroyed by
In the the bibical writings of the ancient Hebrews the
dragon often represented death and evil. The Christians
later followed with this inherited conception and used the
dragon as a symbol of sin to be slain triumphantly by
saints and martyrs.
Tales the dragons nefarious acts are often told in the
stories of many ancient mythologys. The dragon in the
story is often slain by some brave warrior hero to gain
honor and credibility after saving a village or town from
the dreaded dragon. Such a hero battling a dragon is
the legendary Hercules of Greek mythology.
The dragon is not always seen as a menace. In
certain mythologys and stories, the dragon is seen to be
old and wise, possessed with magical powers, and
having an ability to communicate to humans the many
mysteries of the earth. Rather than being portrayed as a
thing to be feared , the dragon is seen as being benign
and a protector rather than an enemy.
The dragon is a very prominent in the far east in
countries such as Japan and China. The dragon is
spoken of in the ancient Chinese book the I Ching in
which these creatures are associated with fertility, power
and well being. The dragon is deified by the Taoist
religion. Among the Chinese people the dragon is
traditionally regarded as a symbol of good fortune and
its likeness is on the national emblem of the Chinese
Gargoyles in the strictest sense of the word are water
spouts projecting from rain gutters that expel water away
from buildings. The are usually made from limestone or
marble that has been carved into the form of a very
imaginative and grotesquely carved face or figure. The
word gargoyle is derived from the old French word
gargouille meaning throat. The water from the roof gutter
drains through the " throat " or spout and is projected out
mouth of the gargoyle away from the side of the building.
Gargoyles first appeared during the 1200's in
medieval times particularly on cathedrals and churches,
in what is termed the Gothic style. The age of the Gothic
gargoyle lasted about 300 years, begining in middle of
the thirteenth century. Most of the gothic gargoyle statues
throughout Europe, and particularly in France were
made during this time period refered to as the Gothic
The term Gothic comes from the Germanic tribe, the
Goths who are credited with a style of architecture that
deviated from classical architecture by incorporating
the ugly and the bizarre into the design components of
The earliest gargoyles were simple in design and
may have served only a plumbing purpose. By the end
of the thirteenth century gargoyles got more detailed and
complicated. All types of bizarre, absurd and grotesque
creatures, animals, and deformed human like figures
were used for gargoyle designs. Stone masons having
free choice as artists used their creative imaginations to
come up with an almost unlimited array of fantastic
mythic type creatures to adorn cathedrals and buildings.
As to whether gargoyles served purposes other
than plumbing and decoration there has been much
speculation over the centuries. A popular explanation is
that they ward off evil spirits and demons . Some say
that they represent the evil outside of the walls of the
church. Others say they are converted demons that now
serve the church .
3 piece alligator lawn ornanent statue, aztec calendar. pirate skull ornament
gothic gargoyle garden statue, chinese foo dog statue, dragon statue,
mexican corn god statue.