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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Shades of Tincture - Shoulder Patch)

Last modified: 2022-09-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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English heraldry, generally speaking, recognizes only one shade per colour, however, in practice and in Continental European heraldry, various different shades will be encountered for the primary tinctures – see ‘tinctures’ and the note below.

tincture tincture tincture
Sanguine and Murrey/Amaranth, Bleu Celeste

a) Gules may be divided into murrey/amaranth (dark red) or sanguine (blood red), whilst azure could also appear as bleu celeste (sky blue).
b) There are, however, a number of variations not covered above, and we suggest that a suitable glossary or dictionary of heraldry be consulted if further details are required.

1) See ‘shafted’ below.
2) A term that is sometimes used in place of lance or staff, particularly when a cavalry guidon is being carried – but see ‘lance’ and ‘staff 2)’ (also ‘guidon’).
A heraldic term used when the wooden section of an arrow, lance or spear is of a different tincture to its head (and/or flights if appropriate) – but see ‘barbed’, (also ‘garnished’, ‘hafted’, ‘hilted’, ‘rogacina’ and ‘tincture’)

flag - Strelice, Czechia arms - Strelice, Czechia flag - Pracejovice, Czechia
Flag and Arms of Střelice, Czechia (fotw); Flag of Pracejovice, Czechia (fotw)

A term (meaning “testimony” or “approval” in Arabic) that refers to the Islamic statement of faith which appears on several Arab flags, and is usually seen thereon in its shortened form - La allah illa Allah (wa) Muhammed rasulu Allah – or “There is no Deity but God (and) Muhammed is God’s messenger” (see also ‘takbir’and ‘zulfikar’).

Saudi Arabia Asiri Regional Movement, Saudi Arabia Palestinian political flag
National Flag of Saudi Arabia (fotw); Flag of the Asiri Regional Movement, Saudi Arabia (fotw); A Political Flag from Palestine (fotw)

The full term reads Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah or "I bear witness that there is no Deity other than Allah and that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger".
b) The use of a sacred text on the Saudi flag has resulted in many restrictions as to its use and appearance.

In heraldry see ‘trefoil’.

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club ensign Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club ensign
Ensign and burgee of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club (fotw)

An alternative term of the Arab Revolt Flag of 1917 – but see ‘pam-Arab colours’ and the note below.

Arab Revolt Flag
Sharifian/Arab Revolt Flag 1917-20 (fotw)

Please note that the name derives specifically from the title of Hussein bin Ali, who as Sharif of Mecca was leader of the Arab Revolt

See ‘beach flag’.

shark alert flag - Hong Kong shark alert flag - Hong Kong
Shark Alert Flags, Hong Kong and South Africa (fotw)

See ‘wolfteeth’).

shark's teeth shark's teeth
Flag and Arms of Borovnice, Czechia (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘garbe’).

sheaf of wheat sheaf of wheat
Flag and Arms of Fenais da Luz, Portugal (fotw)

A nautical term for a pulley, the sheave being the revolving grooved wheel within the block and on which the halyard runs (see also ‘Appendix I’ and ‘halyard’).

In heraldry see ‘escallop’.

Flag of Sant Jaume dels Domenys, Spain (fotws)

In English and Welsh Usage, a term for the armorial trumpet banner (or banners) used at the ceremonial installation of a county’s High Sheriff, and usually bearing his personal arms or those of his bailiwick – but see ‘bannerette’ (also ‘armigerous’ and ‘coat of arms 1)’.

Please note that in British Usage (including Scotland) a High Sheriff is now appointed as representing the monarch in all matters relating to the judiciary and to law and order.

1) In heraldry the shield (varying in detail and based on an item of defensive armour) is the basic element of all armorial bearings, and forms the field upon which the main heraldic charges are displayed. It is always blazoned first, and is often shown alone – an escutcheon (see also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘banner of arms’, ‘blazon’, ‘coat of arms’ and ‘escutcheon’).
2) On flags as above, but the charge or charges displayed need not be heraldic in origin, and (and sometimes shown with weapons) is often said to symbolize a willingness to defend the country country (see also ‘French shield’, ‘Gothic shield’ with its following note, ‘Italian shield’, ‘rectangular shield’, ‘round-bottomed shield 2)’, ‘scalloped 2)’, ‘Spanish-style shield’ and the note below plus ‘triarched triangular shield’).

[shield shapes] [shield shapes] [shield shapes]
Three Examples of Shield Shapes (CS)

a) In English heraldry the shape of a shield is generally considered unimportant, and is (in any case) subject to fashion, however,
b) On flags (and in some systems of continental heraldry) this shape may be exactly specified.

See ‘ogival’.

[shield-shaped flag]
Flag of France in a 14th Century image (fotw)

See ‘lozengy 1)’.

[shield lozengy] [shield lozengy]
Arms and Flag of the South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands (fotw)

See ‘Magen David’.

Shield of David
National Flag of Israel (fotw)

(v) In US, UK and some other naval usage, the procedure whereby a warship’s ensign is struck from its staff at the stern and hoisted at the peak as a vessel gets underway – see ‘peak 1)’ and its following notes (also ‘gaff’, ‘ensign staff’, ‘naval ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘strike’)

Please note that the practice began in the 18th Century due to a change in the design of the mizzen gaff-sail which made the fitting of an ensign staff impractical whilst underway.

See ‘offset towards’ and its following note b).

Grande Comore
Flag of Grande Comore, Comoros (fotw)

See ‘house flag 1)’.

Shipping company flag
House Flag of Altaras, Caune & Cie, France (fotw)

In British Royal Navy usage and in some others, a traditional term for the badge of an individual warship – see ‘rope grommet’ (also ‘badge 3)’, ‘emblem, military and governmental/departmental’ and ‘military crest’).

rope grommet
Flag showing the Ship’s Badge/Crest of HMS Gloucester 1975 (fotw)

See ‘flag patch’.

shoulder patch
Shoulder/Flag Patch of the Bolivian Navy 1966 – 2009 (fotw)

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