Portal:Heraldry

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Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

A herald wearing a tabard
Flags of the Nordic 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.

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.

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Elias Ashmole by Cornelius Neve

Elias Ashmole was an antiquarian, collector, politician and officer of arms. He supported the royalist side during the English Civil War, and at the restoration of Charles II he was rewarded with several lucrative offices, including Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary. Throughout his life he was an avid collector of curiosities and other artifacts. Many of these he acquired from the traveller, botanist, and collector John Tradescant the elder and his son of the same name, and most he donated to Oxford University to create the Ashmolean Museum. He also donated his library and priceless manuscript collection to Oxford. Apart from his collecting activities, Ashmole illustrates the passing of the pre-scientific world view in the seventeenth century: while he immersed himself in alchemical, magical and astrological studies and was consulted on astrological questions by Charles II and his court, these studies were essentially backward-looking. Although he was one of the founding members of the Royal Society, a key institution in the development of experimental science, he never participated actively. (more...)

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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 flag

The flag of India

The National Flag of India was adopted in its present form during an ad hoc meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on the 22 July 1947, twenty-four days before India's independence from the British on 15 August 1947. It has served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950 and that of the Republic of India thereafter.

Designed by Pingali Venkayya, the flag is a horizontal tricolour of "deep saffron" at the top, white in the middle, and green at the bottom. In the centre, there is a navy blue wheel with twenty-four spokes, known as the Ashoka Chakra, taken from the Lion Capital of Asoka erected atop Ashoka pillar at Sarnath. The diameter of this Chakra is three-fourths of the height of the white strip. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 2:3. The official flag specifications require that the flag be made only of "khadi," a special type of hand-spun cloth made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The display and use of the flag are strictly enforced by the Indian Flag Code. (more...)

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Commons-logo.svgMedia on Commons • Coats of arms • Flags • Heraldry