Portal:Heraldry

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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillogy Portal!

Flags of the Nordic countries
A herald wearing a tabard

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

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Selected biography

1835 portrait by Henry Perronet Briggs.

James Robinson Planché (February 27, 1796 – May 30, 1880) was a British dramatist, antiquary and officer of arms. Over a period of almost 60 years he wrote, adapted, or collaborated on 176 plays in a wide range of genres. Planché was responsible for introducing historically accurate costume into nineteenth century British theatre, and subsequently became an acknowledged expert on historical costume, publishing a number of works on the topic.

Planché's interest in historical costume led to other antiquarian research, including heraldry and genealogy. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1829, and was influential in the foundation of the British Archaeological Association in 1843. Appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1854 and promoted to Somerset Herald in 1866, Planché undertook heraldic and ceremonial duties as a member of the College of Arms including proclaiming peace at the end of the Crimean War and investing foreign monarchs with the Order of the Garter. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of the Philippines

The national flag of the Philippines is a horizontal bicolor with equal bands of blue and red, and with a white equilateral triangle based at the hoist side; in the center of the triangle is a golden yellow sun with eight primary rays, each containing three individual rays; and at each corner of the triangle is a five-pointed golden yellow star. The flag is displayed with the blue field on top in times of peace, and with the red field on top in times of war. The design was conceptualized by Emilio Aguinaldo during his exile in Hong Kong in 1897, and formally adopted in 1898. The flag's colors have varying symbolism, and the shade of blue has changed over time. (more...)

Selected coat of arms

Coat of arms of Singapore

The coat of arms of Singapore is the heraldic symbol representing the Southeast Asian island nation of Singapore. It was adopted in 1959, the year Singapore became self-governing within the British Empire. At the centre of the emblem is a red shield bearing a white crescent (a new moon, representing a rising young nation) and five white stars (representing various national ideals including multiculturalism). While the use of the coat of arms is restricted to the government, the symbol enjoys wide use on the national currency and state decorations, and appears on the cover of the national passport.(more...)

Selected picture

The chapel of the Order of the Thistle

The chapel of the Order of the Thistle in St Giles Cathedral. Above each stall the knight's helmet with crest and mantling (and, if a peer, the coronet of rank) is displayed. At the back of each stall is a plate bearing the knight's coat of arms.

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Flag of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium

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