Original Small Powder Horn covered with Hex Signs


This is beautiful antique small powder horn, absolutely covered with “hex signs,” which are generally associated with Pennsylvania Dutch culture, being found on old barns throughout Pennsylvania, and on the area’s folk art in general.  But hex signs have also been associated with other cultures, such as Native Americans, and Germanic culture in general.  This horn also has what appears to be a “75” on it.

These signs have been found mostly on architecture, both in Pennsylvania, and in Europe.  That provides good dating evidence, to these commonly being used roughly from the last quarter of the 18th century, through about 1840.

The evidence of dozens of these earliest barn stars suggests that they were mostly produced within the half-century following the American Revolution and no examples are known to exist after 1840. Perhaps this is because these early architectural blessings were entirely dependent upon the stone construction of the upper gable as a place to anchor the decorative plaques, and when architectural forms changed, the format and style of the architectural blessing was adapted into the barn stars we recognize today.



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