The head of a ram adorns light fixtures throughout the Capitol, symbolizing solar energy and fire. Rams were valuable sacrificial animals in ancient times. When used classical architecture, they represent determination, leadership, and authority - fitting for a government building!
Can you spot the oval shapes underneath the light? This classical molding pattern consists of alternating eggs and darts, perhaps to symbolize the duality of life and death. Eggs are ancient symbols of new life, luck, and health; darts can be quite lethal.
Kids love finding the eight wyverns that crouch in the corners of the Capitol atrium. In medieval heraldry, a wyvern was a guardian figure with magic powers of protection for warriors serving a powerful lord in battle. The Capitol wyverns are fierce two-legged dragons with serpent tails and bright orange wings.
And check out the egg-and-dart molding underneath the wyvern!
Some scholars say that Halloween has roots in ancient Celtic harvest festivals. The pine cones shown above are ancient symbols of agricultural growth and bounty of the earth. In the architectural style of the Capitol, the pine cone stands for spring and rebirth.
Do you see anything peculiar in the marble pattern, above?
Photos taken by Joanna Oldham, Director of Visitors Services. Blog post inspired by Romy Mahyera, Capitol Docent.