As a proud culture descended from a long line of famous warriors, the Mandalorians used a collection of symbols to pass down their rich martial tradition across the generations. These unique sigils are often seen on their armor and weapons, simultaneously paying homage to their ancestors while striking fear into opponents who understand its meaning.
However, many casual Star Wars fans have wondered, what do the Mandalorian symbols mean? From the Mythosaur Skull that has come to famously symbolize its people to the more recent Mudhorn Signet seen during The Mandalorian television series, keen-eyed observers have no doubt noticed these subtle homages to their fierce history.
This article will provide an overview of the seven most significant symbols and sigils found in the Mandalorian culture, followed by a brief explanation of what they mean.
It will then mention any famous warriors who have worn the symbols and their reasons for doing so. Through an examination of what these symbols represent, the reader will come to a deeper appreciation and understanding on the values that matter most to the Mandalorians.
Without further ado, let’s look at these symbols and what made them so special.
The Mythosaur Skull
As the most universally recognized Mandalorian sigil, the Mythosaur skull traces its origins to the Taung – the first species to arrive and conquer the planet Mandalore around 7000 BBY. To prove their bravery, warrior prowess and assert domination over the planet, the fierce Taung hunted down the Mythosaurs, a species of giant beasts native to the planet.
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Over time, the axe and sword wielding Taung drove these ferocious creatures with massive horns, sharp claws and long teeth into extinction. Mandalore the First then made a ceremonial mask from the sternum bone of the creature, passing it down through the generations as a symbol of leadership and power. Also known as the kyr’bes, it became a word used to describe this special helmet, as well as the Mythosaur skull sigil itself.
To remind future visitors and adversaries of who they were dealing with, the Mandalorians left the giant skeletons of the slain Mythosaurs out in the open for all to see and mounted their skulls to entrances of settlements. This further reinforced their self-image and tradition of being brave warriors who will conquer even the deadliest foes without fear.
Over time, the symbol of the intimidating skull with its prominent tusks came to collectively represent the Mandalorians themselves and became ingrained into their psyche. Across society, it can be seen on military equipment, banners, corporate logos and even as personal tattoos.
The most famous clan that embraced the sigil as their own was Clan Keldau, a group that existed during the Mandalorian Crusades. Through their martial prowess, Clan Keldau helped the Mandalorians spread their rule across multiple planets in a golden age of conquest.
The Emblem of the Mandalorian Crusaders
During this “golden age” of conquest around 7000 BBY, the Mandalorian Crusaders waged war across multiple star systems. Led by Mandalore the Indomitable, they added planets such as Ordo, Concord Dawn, and Shogun into the fold during successful military campaigns.
For the Crusaders, combat itself was a glorious exercise and meaningful ritual in order to pay homage to their gods. Over time, the act of war became an honorable end onto itself and was worshipped by the Mandalorians. Consequently, any conquest would be considered holy and just, as was loyalty to one’s tribe and comrades in battle.
To represent these values, the ancient Crusaders adopted a circular ring emblem, which was adorned with sharp edges. The sharp points represented the spikes which sometimes decorated their armor, as well as the edges of the blade weapons they wielded into battle. The shape of the symbol represented the circular nature of life and death, of conquest and defeat, and the duty of every Mandalorian to pass their knowledge onto the next generation.
After the Great Sith War, a group known as the Neo-Crusaders began an era of reform towards a more chain-of-command structure, with more rigorous military discipline and organization compared to their nomadic predecessors.
Led by Mandalore the Ultimate, the Neo-Crusaders adopted their forebear’s emblem and added a stylized Mandalorian skull to the center of the circle. This symbolized the unique authority of the Mandalore to interpret the will of the war gods. The Neo-Crusaders wore this sigil on their armor, and later artwork such as the cubist-style murals found in the Sundari Royal Palace paid homage to them and the original Crusaders.
Boba Fett’s Chest Symbol
The symbol found on the famed bounty hunter’s chest armor is also known as Jaster Mareel’s Sigil and is deeply personal to Fett and his family history. During the last decades of the Republic, Mareel served as a Journeyman Protector on the Outer Rim world of Concord Dawn – a role akin to a constable which upheld the rule of law and served the cause of justice.
After a young Jango Fett’s parents were murdered by members of Death Watch, Mareel adopted the boy and mentored Fett as his own son. After Mareel was betrayed by one of his own men and killed during a bounty mission, Jango Fett took up his adopted father’s role as Mand’alor and wore the sigil to honor Mareel’s memory.
Aesthetically, the yellow wheat symbol overlaid on the green crest paid homage to the importance of Concord Dawn as an agricultural planet and the ability of its people to live off the land. The red drop of blood represented the will of the Mandalorians to fight and achieve victory in combat. The character at the bottom right of the sigil was likely a letter from the Mando’a alphabet, although its exact meaning is unclear.
After Jango Fett’s death at the hands of a Jedi at the beginning of the Clone Wars, the Mandalorian crest and the armor was passed down to Boba Fett, who retained the sigil to honor both his father and grandfather’s legacies. This symbol was featured prominently on Boba Fett’s breast plate during the events depicted in The Mandalorian series.
The Death Watch Symbol
In addition to the Mythosaurs, another animal species native to Mandalor which inspired an important symbol was the Shriek Hawk, or jai’galaar in Mando’a. As ferocious birds of prey, the ancient Mandalorians respected them for their hunting abilities and relentlessness in defending their nests. They were also known for their distinctive, piercing cries, which struck fear into the hearts of its prey and chilled the blood of even the Mandalorians.
Consequently, Clan Vizsla adopted the silhouette of a Shriek Hawk diving to catch its prey as the symbol for their clan. This would be fitting of Clan Vizsla, which produced some exceptional leaders and ferocious warriors over the centuries, including founder Tarre Vizsla – the first Mandalorian Jedi and creator of the legendary Darksaber.
During the Clone Wars era, Clan Vizsla’s descendants included Pre Vizsla – the Governor of Concordia, and Tor Vizsla – the founder of Death Watch, a violent extremist group that wanted to return the Mandalorians to their warlike ways. Tor adopted Clan Vizsla’s sigil as the emblem for Death Watch, wearing it on the shoulder plate of his armor.
Early on, the symbol was painted in red, but by the Clone Wars it was rebranded to the color blue. During the events depicted in The Mandalorian series, it was shown that Din Djarin was rescued as a young foundling by a group affiliated with Death Watch, as seen by the symbol on their armor. Raised as part of the cult known as Children of the Watch, it was hinted that Djarin actually grew up in an offshoot group to Death Watch, although Djarin himself never bore its insignia.
The ferocious Shriek Hawks left such an impression on the Mandalorians that they inspired another sigil – the Jaig Eyes, as a symbol of honor and respect bestowed upon the bravest warrior amongst them. Short for jai’galaar’la sur’haiise in Mando’a, clan leaders awarded only those heroes who accomplished daring feats of bravery worthy of the symbol.
The rare sigil was often worn on the helmet – another piece of equipment central to Mandalorian warrior traditions. Indeed, after the famed bounty hunter Jango Fett was selected as the genetic template and combat trainer for the Clone Army of the Republic, he passed on the Mandalorian tradition of rewarding Jaig Eyes to the most courageous soldiers.
One of the rare soldiers who earned that honorable distinction was Clone Captain Rex, who led the 501st Legion of elite commandos during the Clone Wars under Jedi General Anakin Skywalker. Rex worn the Jaig Eyes in blue paint above the visor of his helmet, marking him as a special individual amongst the clones.
Another clone in the military who wore the sigil was Blackout, the commander of a stealth ship that played a pivotal role during the Battle of Christophsis. Blackout wore the Jaig Eyes in yellow, brightening up his otherwise “blacked out” pilot outfit.
During the events depicted in Star Wars Rebels, Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus also wore the Jaig Eyes sigil on his visor after being blinded by Maul on Malachor. However, it is unclear whether he personally painted them onto the mask or whether a friend such as Sabine Wren did so. Nonetheless, the experienced Jedi proved to be a valuable hero to the Rebel cause and worthy of the honor.
Clan Eldar Symbol
Clan Eldar was one of the Mandalorian clans that were active during the time of the Galactic Empire. After Sabine Wren gifted the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze, a member of Clan Eldar declared himself as being on Kryze’s side. This acceptance of Clan Kryze’s leadership to restore Mandalorian independence signalled that Clan Eldar would join in resisting Imperial rule.
Little is known about the origins of Clan Eldar’s symbol, other than it resembling the face of an animal with perked up ears and a long snouted face, such as that of a fox or a wolf. Presumably, the creature would be an adept hunter with qualities which the Mandalorians found admirable and worthy enough to represent their house.
Members of Clan Eldar wore armor which were black, dark green and orange. The signet for their clan can clearly be seen painted in black on their shoulder plates. After the events of the Great Purge, the fate of Clan Eldar and its members were unclear, as it is unknown whether they survived the Imperial holocaust.
It was a signet crafted by the Mandalorian Armorer on Nevarro, who bestowed it upon learning of Djarin’s victory over the giant beast with the help of his Force-sensitive companion. The Armorer then remarked, “you are a clan of two” as she forged the signet onto the right shoulder plate of Djarin’s beskar armor while he expressed gratitude.
Previously, Djarin had accepted a mission from the Jawas on the planet Arvala-7, in which he would locate a mudhorn egg in exchange for parts to repair his damaged ship, the Razer Crest. Djarin found the mudhorn – an aggressive, giant wool-covered creature with a prominent large horn inside its cave. Djarin then battled the creature, deploying his arsenal of weapons including blaster rifle, flamethrower, and grappling hooks.
However, the aggressive creature with its thick hide proved to be too much for Djarin to handle alone, as he was tossed about and knocked over by the mudhorn’s powerful charge attacks. When the mudhorn was about to deliver a fatal blow, Grogu intervened by lifting up the massive creature through the Force, stopping it in its tracks. This allowed the surprised Djarin an opportunity to plunge a dagger into its flank to defeat the beast.
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This incident was pivotal because Grogu revealed his Force powers in order to save Djarin’s life, which changed the nature of their relationship. Djarin eventually developed great affections for the Child and would go to great lengths to ensure his safety. In recognition for this turning point in both their lives, Djarin wisely adopted the Mudhorn Signet as the symbol for their family bond.
Across the Star Wars galaxy, countless cultures have relied on symbols and mythology in order to reinforce a cohesive group identity and to remind its members of their shared values. However, few have relied as strongly on the power of symbols as the Mandalorians, a culture steeped in martial history and warrior traditions.
Developed over thousands of years, the Mandalorians proudly embraced various emblems to pass down meaning and beliefs across generations. Due to its warrior culture, the values of honor, bravery and loyalty are held to be the most important attributes amongst its people.
As such, the Mandalorians chose symbols which represented these values above all else to remind themselves of these shared beliefs. This has proven to be a wise approach, as the Mandalorian self-identity and culture have endured despite catastrophic events such as the Great Purge of Mandalore, which forced many survivors and clans to scatter across the galaxy.