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Dictionary of Vexillology: T (Thangka - Tower Towered)

Last modified: 2022-09-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A Buddhist prayer flag or wall hanging that depicts scenes from the life and teachings of the Buddha (see also ‘prayer flag’ and ‘religious flag’).

Mongolian thangka
19th Century Mongolian Thangka (Wikipedia)

See ‘ensign, the’.

Ensign of Italy Ensign of Spain
The Ensign of Italy 1848 – 1946 (fotw); The Ensign of Spain 1785-1931 (fotw)

See ‘jack, the’.

Italian jack 1879 Italian jack 1879
The Jack/Naval Jack 1879 – 1946, Italy (fotw); The Jack/Naval Jack of Spain 1945 – 1977 (fotw)

See ‘union, the’.

[The Union - US] [Sarawak]
Jack/Canton of the National Flag, US (fotw); Flag of Sarawak 1946 – 1953 (fotw)

Alternative terms for that quarter of a flag which occupies the lower hoist - the third quarter, lower hoist or lower hoist canton – see ‘canton 3)’ (also ‘hoist 1)’).

[Third canton]

1) See ‘papal cross
2) See ‘orthodox cross’.

[three-armed cross] [three-armed cross]  

See ‘triband’ and ‘tricolour’.

[three-striped flag] [three-striped flag] [three-striped flag]
Flag of the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, UK (Graham Bartram); National Flag of Lithuania (fotw); National Flag of The Congo (fotw)

See ‘swallowtail and tongue’ and ‘triple tongued 1)’).

[three-tongued flag]  [three-tongued flag]
Naval Ensign/State Flag of Norway (fotw); Flag of Halič, Slovakia (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘coupeau’ (also ‘mount’).

Flag of Dürrenäsch, Switzerland (fotw)

The heraldic term that is most usually (but not exclusively) employed when a charge, which under ordinary circumstances does not do so, extends to the edges of a shield, banner of arms or flag – for example a cross pattée throughout or a lozenge throughout as illustrated below – fixed or entire (see also ‘banner of arms’, ‘overall 1)’, ‘overall 2)’ and ‘surmounted by 2)’).

throughout example  throughout example
Imperial Standard 1871 - 1918, Germany (fotw); The Empire of Brazil 1822 – 1889 (fotw)

The alternative heraldic terms used when a shield or banner of arms is divided into three parts in two or three different tinctures or patterns – but see ‘triband 1)’, ‘tricolour 1)’ and note below.

tierced tierced tierced 
Flag of Fulenbach, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Hernán Cortés, Spain (fotw); Flag of Dobrovnik, Slovenia (fotw);

Please note that a field divided in tiercé (or party per tierce) may be described in several different ways and it is suggested that a glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted for full details, however, among those ways are per fess, per pale or per bend depending upon whether it is horizontal, vertical or diagonal – see ‘bend’, ‘fess’ and ‘pale’ (also ‘per bend’ and ‘per bend sinister’).

Pieces of fabric or lengths of ribbon used in the largely (but not entirely) obsolete practice of tying a flag to its staff or mast.

Please note that the increasingly (but by no means entirely) obsolete practice of fixing a flag to its pole or staff by a series of attached loops is almost certainly based on this earlier use of ties – but see ‘loops’ (also ‘sleeve 2)’).

See ‘flag for slanted display’.

Flag of the Army For Slanted Display, Bolivia (fotw & CS)

The heraldic term for the colours, metals and furs used on a shield or banner of arms -see 'furs', 'metals', 'mixed tinctures', 'proper', 'rules of tincture' and 'shades of tincture' (also ‘hatching 1)’).

tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture  tincture tincture tincture
Gules, Azure, Vert, Purpure, Sable, Brunatre, Tenne, Or, Argent, Ermine, Potent and Vair

The basic colours used in English heraldry are gules (red), azure (blue), vert (green), purpure (purple) and sable (black,), with others listed under ‘mixed tinctures’ and ‘shades of tincture’ as referenced above.
b) There are some variations not given herein, and we suggest that a suitable glossary or dictionary of heraldry be consulted if further details are required.

An oval-shaped wood or plastic cross-piece attached to a hoist-line sewn into the heading of a flag, that fastens to a becket or eyesplice at the upper end of the halyard for hoisting the flag on a mast or pole (see also ‘becket’, ‘halyard’, ‘heading’, ‘hoistline’ plus ‘running eye and toggle’).


See ‘running eye and toggle’.


1) In the singular, a piece of fabric projecting from the fly of a flag - see ‘schwenkel 1)’.
2) In the plural see ‘tails’ (also ‘swallowtail and tongue’ and ‘triple-tailed 1)

[tongued flag]  [tongued flag]
Flag of the Partioheraldikot r.y., Finland (fotw); Flag of Breziny, Slovakia (fotw)

1) In vexillology see ‘tongue 1)’.
2) In heraldry see ‘langued’.

tongued tongued  tongued
Flag of Oostrozebeke, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Ittre, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Casablanca 1968 – 1976, Morocco (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘armed 2)’.

Appenzell, Switzerland
Flag of Appenzell, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘cog-wheel’.

Indistriequartier, Switzerland
Flag of Industriequartier Zurich, Switzerland (fotw)

1) In vexillology a term that may be used to place the uppermost detail of a charge – for example when an orb and cross appear on the central point of a crown (see also ‘charge 2)’, ‘crown’ and and ‘surmounted by 1)’).
2) In heraldry see ‘ensigned’.

Spanish Crown Spanish Arms
Royal Crown and National Arms of Spain (fotw)

A heraldic wreath - see ‘wreath 2)’.


The alternative heraldic terms for a red disc – a roundel gules (see also ‘bezant’, ‘hurt’, ‘plates’, ‘pomme(s)’ and ‘roundel 3)’)

torteau example torteau example torteau example
Flag of Asendorf, Germany (fotw); Arms of Sanhoane, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Sobreda, Portugal (fotw)

Please note that in strict English heraldic usage this term should only be applied when the charge described in red (“gules”) – see ‘tinctures’.

See ‘St. Catherine's wheel’.

torture wheel torture wheel
Arms and Flag of Arcas, Portugal (fotw)

See ‘ring 1)’.

torus example
Flag of Groß Twülpstedt, Germany (fotw)

A term for the horsetail decorated standard, now obsolete, of certain regiments of French cavalry - the Spahis originally raised from North African tribesmen – a tugh (see also ‘horsetail’, ‘standard 2)’ and 'tugh 1)'.

The term – and a translation of the German Wanderfahne – for those flags (or more accurately banners) that were awarded to various non-military organizations for the best performance in the meeting or exceeding of production targets etc., by the former GDR and possibly other Communist bloc countries – but see ‘award flag’ (also ‘banner 3’ and ‘honour banner’).

Example: eBay

Please note that other translations of the term “wanderfahne” have been proposed, but have not yet been adopted into English vexillology.

The alternative heraldic terms used when a narrower tower or turret rises above the embattled top of another tower or turret, with the number of any such towers or turrets (if more than one) given – for example (as per two of the images shown below) a tower triple-towered – but see the following note (also ‘embattled’).

Hamburg Belmonte, Portugal flag of Kluczbork, Poland
Flag of Hamburg, Germany; Arms of Belmonte, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Kluczbork, Poland (fotw)

Please note that other variants might include a tower with a steeple or a tower domed (or with a cupola), with the example shown above being a tower triple towered with one domed.

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