Throughout the ages art has been used as a
venue to communicate, record and relay cultural values and history.
Stained glass work
exhibited an array of motifs, which maintained popularity through out various periods and venues for artistic expression. Much
of the symbolism revolves around themes of life, love, religion and
Acorns & Oak Leaves
The popularity of this motif peaked during patriotic periods. Acorns &
oak leaves were also used as Heraldic emblems.
Bells are a symbol of a joyous occasion.
The candle is a symbol of Christ.
The wax being is His flesh, the wick is His soul, and the light of the
candle, His divinity.
A lit candlestick or burning lamp represents active devotion, watchfulness
The never ending circle symbolizes eternity.
A crown is a symbol of power and denotes the
rank of the owner. Crown motifs are also associated with eternity and fidelity.
As trade with the orient spread, there was a
marked oriental influence in the art of other cultures. In China
the dragon is
a divine mythical creature, a symbol of prosperity and good fortune.
The fish is associated with Jesus Christ and the ancient Christian
ritual of Baptism.
In its heraldic form, the fleur- de- lys is an iris,
which became associated with royalty, especially
in the High Middle Ages.
The heart symbol, as we know it today,
was popularized by the Victorian era over a hundred years ago. The heart
represents all love including divine love.
The lily is associated with purity and
In medieval times the peacock
represented a kingly or knightly demeanor. It is also associated with
vanity, luxury and eternal life.
The pineapple is a symbol for hospitality.
The rose is a symbol of mystic vision,
beauty, joy and courtly love in the Middle Ages. The Tudor kings of
England used the rose as their national emblem.
In medieval times the coat of arms was used by knights
as an emblem of identity. After it lost its significance in warfare, it
became a way of recording and displaying family lineage and membership in
The ship stands for hope, marriage and
prosperity. A ship also symbolizes the soul's voyage to a safe haven.
The eight-point star is the emblem
of Bethlehem; the six-point star is a Jewish symbol, and the five point
star announces the birth of Christ.
The symbolism of the swan embodies love, purity, and chance.
Because the swan was believed to sing calmly and sweetly as it was dying, it also
represents an ending or comforted death.
The tulip is one of the most popular motifs used in
antique stained glass. It symbolizes perfect love as well as the Holy
The wreath, often made from
evergreen branches and used as holiday decoration is a symbol for