Fylfot Decorative Motifs

An inscribed and dated 1809 Pennsylvania paint decorated dower chest having for large hearts, a six pointed star and philphlots on either end; with two drawers and ogee bracket feet

p4A ItemID E8925125
A cherry Hepplewhite stand with a single drawer and square tapered legs, the top with decorative inlay, Virginia, first half of the 19th century

p4A ItemID E8905168
A Chippendale blanket chest with three drawers and bracket feet, walnut with decorative inlay that includes tulips and stars, dated 1818, Pennsylvania origin

p4A ItemID E8879198
Federal Desk and Bookcase, Statesville, North Carolina area

p4A ItemID E8849458

Fylfot Decorative Motifs

Fylfots are early design forms of the swastika. The design is frequently encountered in Pennsylvania Dutch decoration in a form that many say resembles a pinwheel. Never a widely used word, etymologists attribute the meaning to Middle English on the basis of one usage in a text from 1500. There, fylfot is used for the design because it was allegedly frequently used to “fill” the “foot” of a stained glass window design.

Reference Note by p4A editorial staff, 2010.


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