Portal:Heraldry
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Portal:Heraldry

Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology 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.

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

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...)

Selected coat of arms

A crest badge of a clan chief of a fictional Scottish clan. A clan chief is the only one entitled to three eagle feathers.

A Scottish crest badge, more commonly called a clan crest, is a heraldic badge worn to show one's allegiance to a specific Scottish clan. Crest badges may be worn by any member of a clan. Even though it is the most common name, the term clan crest is a misnomer. There is no such thing as a clan crest. Modern crest badges usually consist of the clan chief's personal crest surrounded by a strap and buckle and the chief's motto or slogan. Although "clan crests" are commonly bought and sold, the heraldic crest and motto belong to the chief alone and never the clan member. Crest badges, much like clan tartans, do not have a long history, and owe much to Victorian era romanticism, having only been worn on the bonnet since the 19th century. The original badges used by clans are said to have been specific plants worn in bonnets or hung from a pole or spear. (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.

Did you know...

Adam Bruce, Finlaggan Pursuivant

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