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Hexaphoos, 2008

Hexaphoos, 2008

Acrylic Latex

48" x 48"



Hexaphoos is a term meaning Witchesfoot coined by Thomas Nutting in his 1935 book Pennsylvania Beautiful, referring to round decorative symbols that the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually Deutsche) painted on their barns and stables beginning in the early colonial days.


The symbols used a series of colors (primaries, secondaries, white and black) and reoccurring symbols (tulips, wheel of fortunes, teardrops, scallops, stars, etc.) that all had specific meanings.


A mythology arose regarding these emblems by the “plain people”, religiously ascetic sectarians, who lived in the region. According to the mythology, these symbols were placed on barns and stables to ward off witches and devils. People of the Pennsylvania Dutch community themselves have alternately verified and denied these tales. The mythology and regional uniqueness of the hexaphoos has attracted significant tourist traffic and trade in related goods that has lead to the proliferation of these stories.


The symbol presented here is designed specifically to give to this exhibition prosperity and success as well as protect it from demons.

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