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Dictionary of Vexillology: B (Banner)

Last modified: 2021-02-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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This page is an insert page for the term banner. Directional information below returns to the page with surrounding terms

On this page:

1) See ‘banner of arms’.
2) A long vertically orientated flag - originally of Germanic origin and now characteristic of both German speaking and other Central European countries - a vertical flag - it is square-ended or swallow tailed, usually consists of the main flag charge and livery colours (with the main or first colour to the dexter) and is specifically designed to be hung by its top edge from a horizontal cross bar attached to a vertical mast - not to be confused with the hanging flag as defined separately herein and the similar (but usually shorter and more elaborately designed) gonfalon - see ‘hanging flag’ (also ‘bannerhead’, ‘cross bar’, ‘dexter’, ‘dexter edge’, ‘flag charge’, ‘gonfalon 1)’, ‘hoisted flag’, ‘livery colours’, ‘outrigger flag’, ‘sinister edge’ and ‘vertically hoisted flag 1)’).
3) A usually (but not exclusively) elaborately designed flag-like cloth (possibly shaped and fringed on its bottom edge), or rectangular with plain field and inscription, that is suspended from a crossbar and/or between two vertical poles, and carried in procession or at a gathering or flown from a flying line – an ecclesiastical, church or religious banner, processional banner, corporation or civic banner, trade union banner, protest banner, sporting banner, advertising banner or similar (see also ‘cross bar’, 'flying line', ‘gonfalon 1)’ and ‘labarum 2)’).
4) A term used to describe the version of a civic flag (often mounted on a gilded staff with special finial) that is adorned with a fringe and tassels for indoor and/or ceremonial use (see also ‘ceremonial flag 1)’, ‘civic flag’, ‘finial’, ‘fringe’, ‘indoor flag’, ‘official flag 2)’ and ‘staff’).
5) A flag-like cloth, usually (but not exclusively) rectangular with a plain or elaborated field and inscription that is used in a commercial context and often displayed between two fixed points or from a flying line - an advertising banner (see also ‘flying line’).
6) In some British, Australian and Canadian (largely but not wholly) military usage, the specially presented ceremonial flag of a military (or other disciplined) organization that may or may not be entitled to bear colours – banner of the army cadet force, national banner of the Australian air training corps, Western Australia police banner, C-in-C’s unit banner, Canada and banner of the royal Canadian army cadets or similar - but see ‘sovereign’s banner 1)’ and ‘sovereign’s banner 2)’ (also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’).
7) In China during the Quing Dynasty (1644-1911), one of the eight army divisions originally established by the Manchus, with each being mustered under a different flag (see also ‘bannerman 2’).
8) Generically (and poetically) any flag, especially one that is carried by a military force. (see also ‘banner of victory 1)’)

a) With regard to 2), the Editors have adopted strict German vexillological practice in that they have drawn a precisely defined distinction between a hanging flag and a banner, however:
b) These terms are often (sometimes officially) regarded as synonymous and are considered interchangeable.

[banner illustration]  [banner illustration]  [banner illustration]
Banner of Oldenburg, Germany (fotw); Banner of Kaufbeuren, Germany (fotw); Banner of Isen, Germany (fotw)

[banner illustration]
C-in-C’s Unit Banner, Canada (fotw)

c) With regard to 7), the flags flown by the Imperial bodyguard (whilst of the same basic pattern) were more elaborate than those of the main Chinese army.

Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners
Flags of the First, Third, Fifth and Eighth Divisions of the Imperial Bodyguard (fotw)

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