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Use of swastika by american cowboys and cowgirls
Posted By Sarin on Feb 02, 2013     RSS Feeds     Latest Hinduism news
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Cowboy is a synonym given to an animal herder who herds cattle’s on plain or hilly areas. Derived by combining the two English words, cowboy is said to be derived from the Spanish word ‘vaquero’, meaning ‘boy who herd cattle’s’. Traditionally riding on a horse back herding cattle’s or livestock, cowboys also perform a multitude of other tasks like cooking, agriculture, animal husbandry etc.
Cowgirls are the girls or a woman who does the work of herding cattle’s or other livestock. Since women faced difficulty in climbing onto the horse, they used saddle as a tool for riding horses in respectable public places instead of travelling on foot or horses driven carriages. This encouraged young cowgirls to expand their roles beyond doing basic household duties.  
  
Swastika in Cowboy Saddles  
Saddle is a supportive material attached to an animal back used to support the rider from slipping through while riding the horse.  Such saddles can be seen in traditional English movies where a beautiful cowgirl wearing jeans, boots, chaps, gloves and rounded hats performs the herding chores similar to cowboys. Saddles bag are the bags that can be mounted on the saddle to carry sundry items like water, food, blanket etc. Below is one of such antique Saddle bags with sacred swastika symbol from the southwest USA
Cowboy saddle with inscripted swastikas

Swastika in Cowboy Spurs
Spurs are the metallic or leather device attached to the heel of the boot or sandal, featuring a small metal shank usually attached to the wheel for movement. They are usually worn in pair for directing the horse to move forward or lateral while riding.  

Left is the spur with swastika made in Texas prison while on the right side, you can see a spur attached to a wheel.

Some creative cowboys also added a small metal locally known as ‘Pajados’ or Jingo Bobs  to create a jingling bell like sound whenever their foot moved. This was often used by crooks or thief to sign their arrival in the village or a particular area.  

One of such spur with swastika symbol producing a jingling sound
Swastika in Cowboy Watch fobs
Watch fobs are attached on watch chains. Watch fobs were very popular among the cowboys in the early Victoria era. A watch fob is not necessarily attached to a watch chain and can be any small decorative item that fits inside a waist pocket.


Antique watch fob with swastika good luck sign

Watch fob are usually metallic with decorative elaborate designs. Many antique watch fobs made of 24 carat gold can be found in eBay and other auction sites. Watch fob made up of bronze, silver, gold and brass with decorative designs including good luck symbol swastika were quite popular among the cowboy culture

Bronze watch fobs made in the early 1920’s

Swastika in Cowboy belt buckles
Ornamental and beautifully designed stylish buckles were one of the major attractions of the cowboy. It is said that the personality of the cowboy is determined by his belt and buckle. Stylish Belt buckles of cowboys were often used by Hollywood actors not only in their movies but also in their daily lifestyle.

Antique Belt Buckles with Swastika good luck Symbol

Buckles were made of steel, brass, silver, gold, bronze, leather etc. As the popularity of cowboy style grew, belt buckles became a fashion trend and today, every gentleman wear belt with stylish ornamental buckles. Belt buckles are adorned with flags, patriotic symbol, birds, auspicious symbol like swastika, cowboy hats etc.


1920’s American made decorative Good Luck Buckle with swastika symbol

Swastika in Cowboy belts
Buckles cannot be popular without belts. Cowboys used strong leather belts with a heavy buckle as a strategic weapon to beat up local goons or thieves. Belt used by cowboys were made up of rigid leather beautifully designed with auspicious symbol like swastika, flags, eagles etc. Actually belt sets were very popular those days which consisted of many leather belts and colorful buckles that can be attached to the belt. Belt and buckle was chosen from this set depending upon the color of the clothes/apparels or costume worn on the body.

Belts from the early 1930’s made in Texas
  
Swastika in Cowboy Bracelets
Bracelet made of bronze, brass, copper or silver was the trend among teenage cowgirls and cowboys.  Bracelets were embossed with colorful designs and symbols like swastika, national flag, community flags etc. Bracelets were embedded with corals, gemstones, beads, silver and other minerals in decorative leaf patterns to make it more attractive and appealing to young generations.

Bracelets with swastika symbol  
Swastika in Cowboy rings
Swastika embossed Engagement and weddings rings were quite popular among the cowboys since it meant good luck for their future.  Rings studded with gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and precious metals like diamonds, gold, silver, platinum etc were widely exchanged between cowboys and cowgirls as a token of friendship, engagement or wedding.  

One of the swastika cowboy rings for sale on eBay

Swastika in Cowboy pendants and necklaces
In olden days, cowboys would gift expensive jewelry like pendants and necklace to their bride on engagements and weddings. They often gifted a jewelry set consisting of ring, pendant, bracelet, necklace, nose rings, earrings and anklets. Items of this jewelry set were studded with precious stones and metals like gold, silver and diamond. Below are two of such swastika necklaces

Cowgirls swastika Necklace

Swastika pendants were also sold separately. When swastika became associated with German Nazi party, such swastika pendants were treated as a bad luck symbol and were destroyed or melted to create a new one. As a result, such American cowboy Jewelry & pendants are very rare and are sold at a huge price on eBay and other auction sites. Below is one of such cowgirl pendantTop of Form

Cowgirls swastika Pendant  

Swastika in Cowboy gun Holster

Holster is case of leather or similar material to keep pistol, guns or other weaponry items. It is usually designed in such a way that it gets attached to a belt, strap, or saddle easily for comfortable portability and transportation. There are many Hollywood moves depicting heroic and brave cowboys riding a horse and carrying gun or pistol in their holster attached to saddle. Clint Eastwood and John Wayne are couple of such Hollywood actors and ‘Great Train Robbery' is one of such classic movies. Latest one on the list is ‘Cowboy and Aliens’ where our James bond is depicted as a cowboy fighting against aliens. Cowboy holster were very attractive, elegant, durable and comfortable and the popular one included belt holster, pocket holster, waistband holsters, shoulder holsters, and ankle holsters. The most common holsters are worn attached to a person's belt. 
 
American cowboy holster with a swastika button

Swastika in Cowboy Tapadero
Tapadero is a Mexican word which means a leather hood covering a stirrup of a saddle. It was used to protect the boot from slipping or to prevent brush encountered while working cattle on the open range from poking through the stirrup, injuring or impeding the horse or rider. It is also used as a safety precautionary hood for young riders and learners.  

Very rare vintage swastika Mexican cowboy Tapaderos 
  
Conclusion
This article is intended to reclaim the lost significance and importance of humanity earliest symbol ‘Swastika’. Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word “svastika”- "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix. Swastika signifies the symbol of good luck, prosperity, peace and fortune. After its association with German Nazi party, this ancient symbol has faced a sad transition from a good luck symbol to symbol of evil and adversity. Swastika is still widely used as a good luck symbol in Asian countries like India, China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia etc. This symbol has a great spiritual meaning and significance in Hinduism and its derived religions like Buddhism and Jainism. 


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