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The Star of David: An Emerging Subject in Modern Art

by davidww

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The Star of David is actually two intertwining triangles, one pointing up and the other pointing down, which effectively form a 6-pointed star. The 2 overlapping triangles are believed to represent the duality of man; how we can all be good and evil at the same time; physical and spiritual; strong and weak etc. The six points stand for power, wisdom, love, mercy, majesty and justice which are all characteristics of God. Kabbalists believe the points represent God’s absolute rule over the entire universe and how he envelopes us with his protection in all 6 directions up, down, north, east, south, and west.

The Star of David figures most prominently these days in Judaism perhaps because of the way it was utilized to identify the Jews during the holocaust, but it is also of high symbolic significance to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

  • Judaism - In Judaism the Star of David is often referred to as Magen David (Hebrew for “shield of David”) and represents the Jewish community in general. It is believed to represent the emblem on King David’s shield. Another interesting belief is how the 12 tribes seem to be represented by the twelve sides created by the three interior and three exterior sides of the two intertwining triangles. It is important to note however that there is little historical basis for all of these. The earliest documented use of this symbol was outside synagogues in the 17th century, identifying them as Jewish houses of worship.
  • Islam - In Islam, the hexagram is interchangeably known as the Seal of Solomon or the Star of David (sometimes). Both King Solomon and King David were mentioned in the Qur’an as prophets and kings and are therefore highly respected by Muslims. The symbol is used in monuments, tombs, mosques and other Islamic and Arabic artifacts like coins and flags.
  • Hinduism - In Hinduism, the 2 intertwining triangles symbolize the double trinity of the gods Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva and their wives-the three goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati (Kali) respectively.
  • Christianity - Many Christians regard the Star of David with the cross at the center as the symbolic representation of the bridging of the Old and New Testaments. Several old churches also include the Star of David in their intricately designed stained glass windows.

The Star of David in Modern Art

Many prominent historical and religious edifices all over the world are silent architectural monuments to the use of sacred symbols as forms of art. These inspirational symbols have steadily grown popular with today’s modern artists. The Star of David in particular was the subject of choice for two contemporary artists who exhibited their work from Aug to October, 2012 at the Jewish Museum as part of a 6-man exhibition that is to become part of the museum’s permanent exhibition.

Even celebrated artist-magician Francis Tabary has included in his amazing collection of magical art sculptures a yet untitled artwork that simultaneously forms the Star of David and the Christian cross.

Jewish jewelry is perhaps the most mainstream art form in which the Star of David is used these days. It comes in traditional gold or silver creations elegant in their simplicity or as modern elaborate designs dripping with colorful precious stones. The design options based on the star are limited only by the artists’ imagination. For some interesting variations on the Star or David jewelry design, visit Ka Gold Jewelry and learn more about this deeply meaningful ancient symbol.

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