Coat of arms of New York
|Use||Civil and state flag|
|Adopted||April 2, 1901|
Variant flag of State of New York
|Name||Flag of the Governor of New York|
|Coat of arms of the State of New York|
Great Seal of the State of New York
|Armiger||State of New York|
|Adopted||1778 (Seal and CoA)|
|Escutcheon||Azure, in a landscape, the sun in fess, rising in splendor or, behind a range of three mountains, the middle one the highest; in base a ship and sloop under sail, passing and about to meet on a river, bordered below by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs, all proper.|
|Supporters||Liberty and Justice|
The shield displays a masted ship and a sloop on the Hudson River (symbols of inland and foreign commerce), bordered by a grassy shore and a mountain range in the background with the sun rising behind it. The unheraldic nature of the Hudson River landscape reveals the modern origin of the design.
The shield has two supporters:
- Left: Liberty, with the Revolutionary imagery of a Phrygian cap raised on a pole. Her left foot treads upon a crown that represents freedom from the British monarchy that once ruled what is now New York as a colony.
- Right: Justice, wearing a blindfold (representing impartiality) and holding scales (representing fairness) and a sword.
A banner below the shield shows the motto Excelsior, a Latin word meaning "higher", "superior", "lordly", commonly translated as "Ever Upward."
The official blazon for the coat of arms is:
- Supporters. On a quasi compartment formed by the extension of the scroll.
- Dexter. The figure of Liberty proper, her hair disheveled and decorated with pearls, vested azure, sandaled gules, about the waist a cincture or, fringed gules, a mantle of the last depending from the shoulders behind to the feet, in the dexter hand a staff ensigned with a Phrygian cap or, the sinister arm embowed, the hand supporting the shield at the dexter chief point, a royal crown by her sinister foot dejected.
- Sinister. The figure of Justice proper, her hair disheveled and decorated with pearls, vested or, about the waist a cincture azure, fringed gules, sandaled and mantled as Liberty, bound about the eyes with a fillet proper, in the dexter hand a straight sword hilted or, erect, resting on the sinister chief point of the shield, the sinister arm embowed, holding before her her scales proper.
According to Joseph Gavit in New York History, Volume XXXI, the seal symbolizes the following:
- In the center, a shield reveals the sun rising behind Mount Beacon over the Hudson River. "The shield symbolizes in the full sun the name and idea of Old York and the old world; the mountains, river and meadow, with the ships, convey the name and idea of New York in the new world."
- To the right, Justice is ready to fight tyranny with her sword held high.
- Liberty on the left, holds her foot on the overthrown English Crown. "This New York is supported by Justice and Liberty, and discards monarchy."
- The world globe is displayed above the shield. "By exhibiting the eastern and western continents on the globe, the old and new are brought together;"
- Above the world globe soars the eagle. "while the eagle on the crest proclaims," Westward the course of empire takes its way."
- The bottom ribbon exclaims "Excelsior," which means "still higher" or "ever upward."
The coat of arms of the state flag was adopted in 1778 and the present flag is a modern version of a Revolutionary War flag. The original is at the Albany Institute of History & Art.
In 2001, the North American Vexillological Association surveyed its members on the designs of the 72 U.S. state, U.S. territorial, and Canadian provincial flags. After the survey was completed, NAVA members chose the flag of New York to be ranked 53rd out of the 72.
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