What is Vexillology?

Posted by Accent Banner on Oct 30, 2017 11:56:00 AM

What is Vexillology?

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Vexillology is the study of history, symbolism, origins, and uses of flags as well as any general interest in flags and what their history, symbolism, and meaning is to the people who live in that specific area of the world. the word vexillology comes from the synthesis of the Greek word vexillum which means "flag" and the Greek suffix -logia which means "study". This makes the world vexillology which means "study of the flags". 

 

Vecillology Associations

Since this field of study was established there has been a various vexillological association that has popped up around the world where people are interested in studying the history, emblems, and flags that have meant so much to so many people from various parts of the world for so long. One such vexillological association is The UK's National Flag Charity which is entirely funded by member's subscriptions to the association and this is currently the largest membership-based flag organization in the world with members hailing from all 6 inhabited continents. 

 

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The society's goal is to educate people about the important roles that flags play in societies all around the world. The UK's National Flag Charity was founded on St. George's Day which was 23 April 1971. The Flag Institute is proud to maintain until this very day that it has the largest national registry of flags registered anywhere in the UK both on a national and on a regional level. 

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*Example of the subtle history that's included in a flag - like this Portuguese National Flag.

 

Anyone can be a registered member and will receive a quarterly publication called the Flagmaster and are also invited to attend meetings held by the UK's National Flag charity which is held at various locations throughout the UK. The UK's National Flag Charity is also proud to provide vexillological services to HM Government and many other UK organizations as well as others around the world including the United Nations. Our offered services to these organizations include advising on uses of flags, designing new flags, and collecting information about flags that already exist around the world.

For more flag facts and information take a look at our other blog posts. To create a custom flag or banner for your own home or business contact one of our flag specialists to receive a free quote. A member of our team can talk you through the process of creating your own custom banner or flag.  

 

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Topics: flag facts, flag history, vexillology

John Penniman - Maker of the Official Boston Seal

Posted by Accent Banner on Oct 3, 2017 7:28:00 AM

 

A Brief History of John Penniman, designer of official seal of Boston, Massachusetts.

john.jpgPainter and engraver John Ritto Penniman was no ordinary artist; his brush dipped into many different styles and methods throughout his life. From a young age he was determined to become a high-level artist, dedicating himself to the easel and more. Though he began his career by painting portraits and later moved toward romantic landscapes, his creativity extended beyond his easel as he also produced murals and book illustrations.

He was active in the Boston community, including teaching at Boston's first art academy and painting for the Freemasons. He designed and painted furniture, including clock faces, with a particular focus on alternating patterns of light and dark. His networking garnered him connections with architects, government, and fellow painters and designers.

 

Designing the Official Boston Seal

Not the least of Penniman's many achievements was this design of the official seal of Boston. Featuring the Boston skyline including the State House, clouds, and harbor, he rendered the city's details beautifully. It is enclosed within the Latin for the Bible verse "God be with us as He was with our fathers" above and "City-Status Granted by the Authority of the State in 1822" below. He designed the seal with the Boston revolutionary army in mind, as it sports the blue and white of their uniforms. 

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*The Official Seal of Boston

There's certainly a reason Penniman is the most famous flag painter of New England, and it's easy to see why. He is an inspiration to many artists across the country for his unflagging determination to improve his craft, which blossomed into an extraordinary talent. If you'd like to design a custom flag or banner of your own contact Accent Banner today for design tips or to request a free quote. 

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Topics: flag history, John Penniman

Flag History: A Short History of Flag Burning

Posted by Accent Banner on Sep 15, 2017 2:07:00 PM

 

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A Brief History of Flag Burning Laws

Like many forms of political protest in the U.S., modern flag burning originated during the Vietnam era. (The first recorded flag burnings were by Southerners protesting Abraham Lincoln just before the Civil War, but there is no real evidence that it continued before Vietnam.) In keeping with the heightened wartime rhetoric, nearly every state made desecrating the flag a crime--sometimes with new laws, sometimes via the invocation of little-used laws already on the books. In 1968, Congress passed the first federal anti-desecration law in response to an incident in Central Park. One year later, the Supreme Court found in Street v. New York that a state law was unconstitutional in that it allowed the plaintiff, Sidney Street, to be convicted merely for speaking ill of the American flag. The Court, however, did not rule on whether or not laws against flag burning (which Street had also done) were also unconstitutional.

 

Free Speech and The Supreme Court

That precedent did not change for two decades, in Texas v. Johnson. In 1984, a man named Gregory Lee Johnson was arrested and convicted for burning a flag during that year's Republican National Convention. (The incident caused Congress to introduce a Constitutional amendment against flag burning, which led to a wave of new flag burnings nationwide.) Five years later, the Supreme Court decided that flag burning itself was protected speech under the Constitution; after Congress changed the anti-desecration law to fit the guidelines of Texas v. Johnson, the Court continued to overturn convictions on the basis that those convictions were still made to limit free speech.

 

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Flag Burning as a Form of Protest

29D806E100000578-3133597-image-a-28_1434913621415.jpgFlag burning exists, as mentioned, as a form of protest. Flags are highly recognizable symbols; blended with national pride, they evoke a powerful sense of patriotism within large majorities of people (in most countries) that love where they live. Because of this, burning one becomes one of the most powerful forms of protest possible, both in what it says about the strength of the burner's anger and in the backlash it receives from those who view desecration of the flag as a desecration of their home. This applies whether the burner is an American or a citizen of a different nation protesting something that America has done in their homeland.

Even though the United States has declared flag burning a protected form of speech, other countries have legal repercussions for those who do it. Interestingly, while many Americans would assume the strictest laws exist in the most totalitarian countries, that is not at all the case. China, for example, has sentences as short as fifteen days for flag desecration. Russia does not appear to have any law against it.

On the other hand, some of the strongest laws against flag burning are in a few of the United States' closest allies. France can fine a person up to 7,500 Euros, and throw them in jail for six months, if they burn a French flag at a large gathering. South Korea's laws can apply to flag desecration done by non-citizens outside the boundaries of South Korea. And in 2016, Israel passed a law that allowed up to three years in prison for anyone convicted of burning not just an Israeli flag, but one of an allied country as well. 

Whether you consider it acceptable or not, flag burning is a serious method of protest with a history worth knowing. If you're interested in flags, custom banners, flag repair, or how to correctly retire a flag, contact the flag specialists at Accent Banner to learn more.  

 

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Topics: flag facts, flag history, flag burning, flag law

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