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Weapon Symbolism in Western Painting

Origen Adamantius, an early Christian theologian stated "If all things were made through Him, clearly so must the splendid revelations have been which were made to the fathers and prophets, and became to them the symbols of the sacred mysteries of religion."


 Arrows symbolize death and martyrdom. Emblem of many Saints including  St. Edmund the Martyr and St. Sebastian, a Roman martyr often depicted with a body full of arrows.

Blank Shield symbol of Judas Iscariot

Three Knives emblem of  Saint Bartholomew. He  died a gruesome death by being skinned alive.

Sword - Martyrdom; valor; combat. Swords, crossed - High ranking military person. Emblem many Saints including of Saint Paul and Archangel Michael.  From the Bible "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. "Eph. 6:17

Knife symbol and emblem of Bartholomew one of the Twelve Apostle

Club principal iconographical emblem of  St. Jude

Broken Sword - implies eradication of heathen evil and or cowardice.

Silver shield with serpent intertwined around a bloodied sword - symbolizing the False Prophet.

Pitchfork - symbol of Satan, devilish intentions, the apocalypse.

Ax or hatchet left in wood - a spiritual reminder of Satan's presence and his ability to possess the faithless.

Battle ax or sword leaning against a wall -  is a symbol for death, both of the body and the spirit.

Battle axe principal iconographical emblems of  Saint Simon.

Ax is the emblem and symbol of Matthias who  was the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Matthias was martyred by beheading.

Red Shield primary iconographical emblem of  Saint Paul.

The scourge a whip with several lashes attached to its handle similar to a cat o' nine tails,  is a sign of both earthly and godly punishment. In the time of Jesus, condemned criminals were flogged before being crucified upon the cross. The scourge when coupled with a pillar is a symbol of Christ's Passion.

Whip symbolizes worldly domination, sovereign authority, slavery and self-inflicted penance for past, present and future  sins.



The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in  Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning:



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