Monday, July 30, 2007

Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs

Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs are commonly found at the peaks of barns in Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. These circular hex signs have much mystery, myth and confusion surrounding them.

Some traditions teach that "painted prayers," invocations and petitions made visible, asking God for the blessing of protection for home and farm, good fortune, abundance and prosperity or inviting guests to be welcome.

Traditional hexen are painted directly on the barn surface, and use a minimal number of primary colors, black and white. The painted used a compass made from a nail, string and pencil to inscribe large circles and arcs. Modern hexen are painted on plywood circles that are painted in the same color as the barn and mounted with screws. They can also be painted on smaller circles for display in the house, and sometimes are used to adorn hope chests, baby cradles or decorative (or functional) boxes.

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