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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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Selected biography

Sir Bernard Burke as Ulster King of Arms in 1867

Sir John Bernard Burke (January 5, 1814 - December 12, 1892) was a British officer of arms and genealogist. He was born in London, and was educated in London and in France. His father, John Burke (1787-1848), was also a genealogist, and in 1826 issued a Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the United Kingdom. This work, generally known as Burke's Peerage, has been issued annually starting in 1847. While practising as a barrister Bernard Burke assisted his father in his genealogical work, and in 1848 took control of his publications. (more...)

Selected coat of arms

Royal Arms of England (1193-1340)

In heraldry, the Royal Arms of England is a coat of arms symbolising England and its monarchs. Its blazon (technical description) is Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure, meaning three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking and facing the observer, arranged in a column on a red background. This coat, designed in the High Middle Ages, has been variously combined with those of France, Scotland, Ireland, Nassau and Hanover, according to dynastic and other political changes affecting England, but has not itself been altered since the reign of Richard I. (more...)

Selected flag

Flag of the Republic of China

The flag of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, was first used in mainland China by the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) in 1917 and was made the official flag of the ROC in 1928. It was enshrined in the 6th article of the Constitution of the Republic of China when it was promulgated in 1947. Since 1949, the flag is mostly used within Taiwan where the Republic of China relocated after having lost the Chinese Civil War to the People's Republic of China.

In Chinese, the flag is commonly described as Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth (traditional Chinese: , , 滿; simplified Chinese: , , ; pinyin: Qīng Tiān, Bái Rì, Mǎn Dì Hóng) to reflect its attributes. The canton (upper corner on the hoist side) originated from the "Blue Sky with a White Sun flag" proposed by Lu Hao-tung in 1895 and adopted as the KMT party flag. The "red earth" portion was added by Sun Yat-sen in 1906. After the Republican revolution, the provisional Senate selected the "Five-Colored Flag" as the national flag in 1912. After President Yuan Shikai suppressed the KMT, Sun Yat-sen established a government-in-exile in Tokyo and eventually a rival government in Guangzhou in 1917, using the KMT flag as the national ROC flag. This flag was made the official national flag on December 17, 1928 after the Northern Expedition toppled the Beiyang government. (more...)

Selected picture

Oil painting (2005) of the Coat of arms of Gozdawa

Oil painting (2005) of the Coat of arms of Gozdawa. In Polish heraldry each coat of arms has its own name and may be shared by several unrelated families.

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Coat of arms of Schleswig-Holstein

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