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This is a brief overview of symbols in Christian iconography - the use of symbols and attributes in art, and common scenes in Christian art. The selection of symbols and scenes is based on the contents on the rest of these pages. Connections with specific saints are noted.

Symbol Meaning
  1. Christian hope, often combined with a cross (faith) and a heart (charity/divine love)
  2. St Clement (instrument of martyrdom)
angel Matthew the Evangelist
arrows St Sebastian (instrument of martyrdom)
axe/halberd Matthew the Evangelist, Jude the Apostle, St. Olav (instrument of martyrdom)
birds St Francis of Assisi
chalice The Eucharist (alone or with host)
club James the Lesser, Jude the Apostle (instrument of martyrdom)
cock Peter the Apostle
  1. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ
  2. Philip the Apostle (long-shafted)
  3. Peter the Apostle (upside-down Latin cross)
  4. Andrew the Apostle (saltire)
  5. St Clement (with three branches)
eagle John the Evangelist
flaying-knife Bartholomew the Apostle (instrument of martyrdom)
gridiron Lawrence the Deacon (instrument of martyrdom)
hat, pilgrim's James the Greater
  1. Sacred heart of Jesus
  2. Sacred heart of Mary
  3. Our Lady of Sorrows (pierced by seven daggers)
  4. Charity / divine love
  5. Augustine of Hippo and Anthony of Padua (flaming heart)
keys Peter the Apostle, and by association the Papacy
  1. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God
  2. John the Baptist
  3. The Apostles (as twelve lambs with The Good Shepherd
  4. Agnes, possible a pun on her name and agnus, Latin for lamb; pallia made from lambs' wool and blessed on her feast
  1. Any bishop
  2. Bernardino of Siena (three mitres)
money-bag Matthew the Evangelist (reference to occupation)
  1. Instrument of The Passion of Christ
  2. Joseph of Arimathea
organ Cecilia (refers to the myth that she invented the organ)
  1. Luke the Evangelist
  2. Ambrose of Milan (when writing, refers to commentaries on the Gospel of Luke)
purse Lawrence the Deacon (refers to distribution of funds to the poor)
  1. Baptism
  2. James the Greater (scallop-shell)
spear / lance
  1. Instrument of the Passion of Christ
  2. Thomas the Apostle (instrument of martyrdom)
  3. Longinus (Roman soldier who pierced Christ's side)
staff, pilgrim's James the Greater
sword Paul the Apostle (instrument of martyrdom)
tiara, papal Peter the Apostle, any later pope and the Papacy
T-square Thomas the Apostle
whip / scourge
  1. Instrument of the Passion of Christ
  2. Ambrose of Milan (three-tonged whip, with which he chased away his enemies)

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