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Dictionary of Vexillology: P (Pratique Flag - Prize Flag)

Last modified: 2022-09-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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See ‘quarantine flag’.

[quarantine flag]
Pratique/Quarantine Flag (fotw)

A small, sometimes triangular flag, often used in groups and decorated with inscriptions, intended to express a prayer as it flies – characteristic of Hinduism, Buddhists in the Himalayan region and of a related Chinese sect (see also ‘Buddhist flag’, ‘dhvarja’, ‘pavon’, ‘thangka’ and ‘religious flag’).

[Hindu prayer flag] [Hindu prayer flag] [Hindu prayer flag]
Hindu Prayer Flags (fotw)

The system often regulated by law, of placing flags, emblems or coats of arms for a display or ceremony in order of importance – for more details see ‘Appendix II’, ‘rules of etiquette’ and ‘position of honour’ (also ‘flag code’ and ‘flag law’).

A term that relates to European flags which do not contain any elements derived from heraldry and/or which pre-date the introduction of heraldic symbolism. (see also ‘anti-heraldry’, ‘dragon flag 1)’, ‘flammula 2)’, ‘gonfanon’, ‘heraldry’) and ‘pallia’).

[pre-heraldic flag] [pre-heraldic flag] [pre-heraldic flag]
Oriflamme/War Flag of Charlemagne c800 (fotw); Cavalry Flag c1150, Spain (fotw); Royal Standard of Ramiro I c845, Asturias (fotw)

In British RN usage and in some others, the signal flag hoisted before a message is sent and hauled down after that message has been completed (see also ‘hoist 2)’ and ‘signal flag’) – but see note below (also ‘code pennant’ with its following note, ‘distinction pennant 1)’ and ‘Marryat&r#39;s code’).

[preparative flag] [preparative flag] [preparative flag]
Preparatives: Howe’s and Popham’s Codes 1790 - 1810, and in the Naval Code of 1889, UK; Marryat’s Commercial Service Code of 1817, UK;; Current Naval Code, UK/NATO (fotw)

Please note that this flag was originally introduced in Howe's code of 1790 to indicate that the following message was not to be obeyed immediately, but only when the preparatory was again raised and lowered, and that the term has also been used to describe a “telegraph flag” in Popham's code of 1799 – see ‘telegraph flag’.

Flag P (Papa) in the International Code of Signal Flags hoisted to indicate the imminent start of a yacht or dinghy race (see also ‘blue peter’, ‘international code of signal flags’, ‘prize flag’, ‘race signals’ and ‘racing flag’.)

[Blue Peter - ICS Papa]
Signal Flag P (Papa) (fotw)

In UK usage and in some others, the term for a ceremony at which a regiment (or other unit) is presented with its colour or colours (see also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’).

[Presentation of colour]
Presentation of a King's Colour to the Royal Navy by HM King George VI in 1939

1) See ‘state arms 1)’ under ‘arms’ (also ‘presidential standard’).
2) Those arms, sometimes differing slightly from any state versions, which symbolize the office of president.

 [Serbian Presidential arms]  [Lithuanian Presidential flag]  [Trinidad & Tobago presidential arms] 
Presidential/State Arms, Serbia (fotw); Presidential Flag/Arms, Lithuania (fotw); Presidential/State Arms, Trinidad and Tobago (fotw);

1) See ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’.
2) In largely US usage, a term for the distinguishing flag of a president when displayed indoors, or on parade when it is invariably fringed (see ‘presidential standard’).

 [Presidential colour] [Presidential colour]
President’s Colour India (fotw); Presidential Standard in Parade Format, USA (Graham Bartram)

In some republican usage the legal means by which a head of state authorizes display of a flag or the amendment of an established design, and the equivalent to a US Executive Order or Royal Order in Council – see ‘executive order’ ‘royal decree’ and ‘royal order in council 2)’ (also ‘flag law’).

[Presidential decree] [Naval Jack of Kazakhstan] [Presidential Flag of Greece]
Flag of the Minister of Education, Belarus, Naval Jack of Kazakhstan and Presidential Flag of Greece all authorized/introduced by Presidential Decree

See ‘sash 1)’.

[Presidential sasg]
Presidential Sash of Colombia (fotw)

That flag which symbolizes the office of president in a republican system of government, often (but no means exclusively) a defaced or decorated version of the national flag (see also ‘deface 1)’, ‘distinguishing jack 2)’, ‘national flag’, ‘presidential arms’ and ‘royal standard’).

[presidential standards] [presidential standards] [presidential standards]
Presidential Standard of Chile (fotw); Presidential Standard of Croatia (fotw); Presidential Flag of Iceland (fotw)

See ‘flag of pretence 1)’.

[flag of pretence]
Naval Ensign of Bolivia 1966 - 2013 (fotw)

A phrase sometimes used in heraldic blazoning when the male member of an animal is shown erect and in a different tincture to its body – villené, vilene or viriled (see also ‘blazon’ and ‘tincture’).

Appenzell, Switzerland
Flag of Appenzell, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘coronet 2)’.

Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
Princely Coronet/Hat (Wikipedia); National Flag of Liechtenstein bearing a Coronet/Hat (fotw)

The alternative names originally applied to the orange-white-blue horizontal tricolour that was the first pattern of Dutch national flag, the driekleur, and in use from c1575 – c1654/1660 – the prinsenvlag or prinzenvlag (see also ‘double-prince’, ‘Dutch colours 1)’, ‘driekleur’, ‘triple-prince’ and ‘tricolour 2)’).

Netherlands 1575-1654/60
National Flag of the Netherlands c1575 – c1654/1660 (fotw)

Please note, evidence indicates that until the late 18th Century the terms prinsenflag or prinzenvlag were sometimes also applied to the red-white-blue tricolour.

In British RN and some other naval usage, a vessel in commission that does not fly the flag of a flag officer or broad pennant of a commodore (see also ‘broad pennant’, ‘flag of command’, ‘flag officer’, ‘flagship’ and ‘masthead pennant 1)’).

1) See ‘call sign’ and ‘call sign hoist’.
2) See ‘house flag 3)’.
3) A naval term, now obsolete, for a confidential signal used by ships of the same navy to verify each other's identity (see also ‘make her number’ and ‘pendant number’).

The term for a merchant vessel, or for the crew of such a vessel, holding a licence (or letter of marque) from its government which entitled that vessel, or its crew, to attack the property of those countries with whom they were at war - a practice now obsolete - corsair(s) - see ‘privateer ensign’ and ‘privateer jack’.

A French Privateer attacking a British East Indiaman 1800 (Wikipedia)

Please note that possession of a letter of marque (and/or reprisal) also entitled the holder and/or his crew to be treated as prisoners of war rather than face execution if captured - which was (and in some cases still is) the legal punishment for piracy on the high seas (see also ‘jolly roger 1))’).

In Spanish usage and some others, now obsolete, a special ensign prescribed for vessels engaged in privateering – a corsair ensign – see ‘privateer(s)’ and ‘privateer jack’ (also ‘ensign 1)’ and ‘jolly roger 1)’).

Spanish privateer ensign, 1820 Austria-Hungary privateer ensign proposal
Privateer Ensign, Spain 1820 (fotw); Privateer Ensign Proposal 1819, Austria-Hungary (Fame)

In English then UK usage, now obsolete, a special jack prescribed for vessels engaged in privateering and flown from 1694 until 1856 – the distinction jack or budgee jack see ‘privateer(s)’ and ‘privateer ensign’ (also ‘budgee flag’, ‘budgee pendant’, ‘jack’ and ‘union jack 2)’).

pre 1801 privateer jack privateer jack 1801 to 1856
Privateer Jack 1694-1801, England/UK (fotw); Privateer Jack 1801 – 1856, UK (fotw and CS)

A special flag flown by a yacht that has won a race (see also ‘preparatory flag’, ‘race signals’ and ‘racing flag 1)’).

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