I'm seeing these symbols everywhere. Merchant stalls, houses, etc. What do they represent? Are there more?

Note: These are not unique to these locations. I have found the 4th symbol the most. On both houses and shops.

  • My fist assumption was that it marked people who were part of some secret society. After seeing so many I have since revised my theory and assumed they were architectural markings.
    – Arkive
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 17:36
  • @Arkive That's what I thought when I had only seen #4. Then I saw #1. Then I started finding different ones everywhere!
    – user9983
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 17:39
  • 2
    They're called Shadowmarks, and they're put there by the Thieves guild. I'm pretty sure we already had a question on these, so let me find it. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 17:47
  • 1
    Well, I can't find it, so let me pull some information I can post to give you an answer. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 17:49
  • @RavenDreamer - I looked and couldn't find any similar questions.
    – user9983
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


These symbols are called Shadowmarks.

Glossary of Shadowmarks (All of the below comes from the in-game book, "Shadowmarks")

"Guild" symbol

"The Guild"

This is the symbol for the Guild. This means the place is as safe as the Flagon's cistern. If you see this shadowmark, someone from the Guild is nearby for certain.

"safe" symbol


We usually leave this shadowmark when we've scouted and found a safe way around something, a hallway without traps or maybe a house that's already cleared out. If you see one of these, head the way it's pointing and you'll be fine.

"danger" symbol


If you see this shadowmark, head the other way or take your life in your own hands. It means there's something ahead or beyond that door that wants to turn you inside-out.

"escape route" symbol

"Escape Route"

Now, on the rare occasion (it better be a rare occasion if you want to work in the Guild) that you find yourself in jail, look for this little beauty. You see this shadowmark and escape is just a few steps away.

"protected" symbol


We put these shadowmarks on places we don't want you to go. As in stay out of there or there's going to be a boot up the backside. These people are under the Guild's protection and should never be robbed or assaulted.

"fence" symbol


This should quickly become your favorite shadowmark. The person near this mark will buy your... hard-earned stolen goods for a fair price.

"thieves' cache" symbol

"Thieves' Cache"

Who says we only take and never give back? If you find this shadowmark near a chest or maybe a hollowed log, you're in for a surprise... a gift from the Guild for the thief in the field. Whoever said membership didn't have its privileges?

"loot" symbol


There's something near this shadowmark worth stealing. Saves you from breaking into a place only to find the people don't even have two septim to rub together.

"empty" symbol


The opposite of the Loot Shadowmark. Pass on this place, there's nothing inside.

  • 20
    Little things like this make me love Skyrim.
    – Reid
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 18:30
  • I wonder what they mean by "worth stealing". I mean, I broke into the Drunken Huntsman, the only thing there was is a necklace with 20 magicka ON the seller himself. Wasn't too much notable.
    – Allov
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 3:19
  • 1
    @Allov they sell Daedric arrows sometimes - definitely worth stealing if you're an archer.
    – shanodin
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 17:50

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