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Star polygons in art and culture

Star polygons are the basis for numerous figures of significance in arts and culture. The figure may be the border or interior of the polygon, or one or more closed polygonal paths that include all of the border and also have some legs crossing the interior. Impressions of astronomical stars provide the term, but specific uses may exploit the connection or not. Stars often represent the unity of states within a country when they are used as a part of the flag.

The five-pointed star, if drawn with points of equal length and angles of 36° at each point, is sometimes termed a golden five pointed star. If the colinear edges are joined together a pentagram is produced, which is the simplest of the unicursal star polygons, and a symbol of mystical and magical significance. Originally, the five-pointed star (pentangle), forming a pentagram within it, represented the ten tribes of Israel that broke away from the ruling class of Judah, Benjamin, and the Priests. There are ten "Vav" or "man" that form the five points. A circle was also added around the Israelite Star because it was the letter "Samek" meaning, "death". Today's modern Pagans tend to use all three symbols, rather than making any distinction. The golden five-pointed star is a very common ideogram in the western world, and has particularly strong associations with military power and war. The Asian giant LG Corporation's initials actually stand for "Lucky Goldstar" (and not "Life is Good" as many Westerners are led to believe). Many communist countries (such as China and Vietnam) and symbols (the hammer and sickle) also incorporate five-pointed stars.

Union Army, VII Corps, 3rd Division Badge

  • In heraldry, a mullet is a star with straight arms and typically five points. A star with wavy rather than straight rays is called an estoile. The mullet, used as an heraldic charge, is the ensign of knightly rank, and every order of knighthood incorporates this symbol in some way. It has traditionally been used in British heraldry as a mark of cadency for the third son.
  • In Christian art, St. Bruno bears a star on his breast; Saint Dominic, Saint Humbert and Saint Peter of Alcantara have a star on their head or forehead.
  • The star with six (or less commonly five, sometimes seven) points is associated with law enforcement in the United States, and forms the basis of the sheriff's badge.
  • If the collinear edges of a regular six-pointed star are connected, so that two interlaced triangles are formed, a symbol results that is variously known as the hexagram, Star of David, or Shield of David (Magen David). This symbol is most commonly associated with Judaism; it is also used in Christianity and Islam and Hinduism, but on a less frequent basis.
  • The Ahmadiyya flag, Lawa-e-Ahmaddiyat contains a six-pointed star, adjacent to a crescent.
  • The Star of Life, which is a six-armed cross.
  • The Great Seal of the United States contains a six-pointed star made up of 13 stars (representing the original 13 colonies).
  • The municipal flag of Chicago has four six-pointed stars.
  • German and German-American hex signs and barn stars often incorporate both five- and six-pointed stars as central themes.
  • The six-pointed star is used as the symbol for Folks Nation alliance of gangs from Chicago. Crip gang members tend to use this symbol also.
  • Acute heptagram, the {7/3} star polygon.
  • Obtuse heptagram, the {7/2} star polygon.


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