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Symbol for Vasa

We recently returned from a Tauck tour / dinner at the Vasa Museum. The tour guide spoke about the origin / symbolism of two plaques on the ship - a sheath of wheat and what it represents. Unfortunately, we can not remember and we have dinner lunch with this symbol and would like to give them to our grandsons with explanation. Can you help?

Thank you so much for your time and effort. Your museum was the highlight of our Baltic Sea trip.



  • Hi Noreen,
    thank you for your question. On the ship Vasa we do have three shields with the symbol that we in old Swedish use to call Vase. One is seen in the front in the paws of the big lion, which is the figurehead. The other two shields is in the stern, in the family coat of arms and in the national coat of arms.
    The symbol looks like a sheaf of wheat, but is actually a bundle of sticks. (It is very common that people refer to it as a sheaf of grain, because later in the 16th century the symbol Vase looks very much like one)
    This symbol (of a bundle of sticks) is usually called fascine in English, fasces in Latin and in old Swedish Vase. It is the symbol of the Royal family. We don´t know why they chose this symbol, but it could have a military connection, since a vase was something used in making field fortifications, bridging ditches, and similar operations.

    I am so glad to hear you enjoyed our museum.
    Best regards

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