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Last seen on: NY Times Crossword 26 Mar 23, Sunday
Random information on the term “HEX”:
Hex signs are a form of Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, related to fraktur, found in the Fancy Dutch tradition in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Barn paintings, usually in the form of “stars in circles”, began to appear on the landscape in the early 19th century and became widespread decades later when commercial ready-mixed paint became readily available. By the 1950s commercialized hex signs, aimed at the tourist market, became popular and these often include stars, compass roses, stylized birds known as distelfinks, hearts, tulips, or a tree of life. Two schools of thought exist on the meaning of hex signs. One school ascribes a talismanic nature to the signs; the other sees them as purely decorative. Both schools recognize that there are sometimes superstitions associated with certain hex sign themes and neither ascribes strong magical power to them. The Amish do not use hex signs.
Painted barn stars in circular borders are a common sight on Pennsylvania Dutch barns in central and southeastern Pennsylvania, especially in Berks County, Lancaster County and Lehigh County. However, the modern decoration of barns is a late development in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. Prior to the 1830s, the cost of paint meant that most barns were unpainted. As paint became affordable, the Pennsylvania Dutch began to decorate their barns much like they decorated items in their homes. Barn decorating reached its peak in the early 20th century, at which time there were many artists who specialized in barn decorating. Drawing from a large repertoire of designs, barn painters combined many elements in their decorations. The geometric patterns of quilts can be seen in the patterns of many hex signs. Hearts and tulips seen on barns are commonly found on elaborately lettered and decorated birth, baptism and marriage certificates known as fraktur.