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Dictionary of Vexillology: C (Chakra - Civil Flag)

Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A wheel-like emblem that represents the Buddhist Dharma Chakra (or wheel of law) and which appears in a variety of different designs on the national flag of India, the military flags of Thailand and several other flags both past and present.

From left: India (fotw); Thailand (fotw)

See ‘base’.

In US army usage a flag, bearing a device corresponding to a particular religion, displayed in a military chapel.

[US Chapel Flag]
Christian Faith Chapel Flag, US (fotw)

In US army usage a flag, bearing a device corresponding to a particular religion, flown in the field to designate the location of a chaplain's quarters or office, or the site at which religious services are being held.

[Jewish chaplain flag]
Jewish Faith Chaplain’s Flag, US (fotw)

See ‘garland’.

1) Generically, any emblem, object or design placed upon the field of a flag or shield (see also ‘Appendix IV’).
2) Specifically, a symbol placed upon the field of a flag, which is neither an emblem as specifically defined herein, nor a badge (see also ‘emblem’, ‘emblem, national’, ‘emblem military’ and ‘badge’).
3) (v) The act of placing such a charge on a flag.

Please note however, that with a considerable degree of heraldic justification, some sources propose the charge to be an integral part of a flag’s design and usually not used separately, whereas, in general a badge may. It is suggested therefore, that the entry ‘badge (in heraldry)’, and a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted.

(adj) The act of having placed a charge on a flag (especially "charged with") – to have defaced with a charge (see also ‘charge’ and ‘deface’).

See ‘sports flag 4)’.

1) In vexillology, the term used for a flag (or sometimes a charge) bearing more than four but an otherwise varied number of rectangles (usually but not invariably squares) in alternating colours – but see ‘compony’ and ‘counter-compony’ (also ‘charge 1)’ and ‘quarterly’).
2) In heraldry the term for a shield or banner of arms, or an ordinary/charge thereon, bearing (not less than twenty) squares of a metal and colour alternately. - but see the notes below, ‘compony’ and ‘counter-compony’ (also ‘ordinary’).

[Checky - North Brabant Netherlands] [Checky - Chihuahua Mexico] [Radvanice, Czech Republic] [Example]
From left: Flag of North Brabant, Netherlands (fotw); Flag of Chihuahua, Mexico (Juan Manuel Gabino Villascαn); Flag of Radvanice, Czech Republic (fotw); Example (Parker)

Please note that in heraldry the exact number of squares (if more than twenty) is usually left undefined, however, any number between ten and twenty squares is generally specified, and that in vexillology the number of such rectangles (regardless of quantity) is often precisely regulated.

flag of Croatia Arms of Croatia
National Flag and Arms of Croatia (fotw)

Also please note that a shield or banner of arms carrying only nine squares is called equipolle by French heralds.

See ‘checky’.

1) On flags, any ‘V’ shaped charge on a flag irrespective of the width of the arms. The standard orientation of a chevron on flags is the same 2) below, however, when the apex is towards the top edge of the flag it may be called a simple chevron; with the apex towards the bottom edge of the flag, an inverted chevron; with the apex towards the fly a horizontal chevron and with the apex towards the hoist of the flag it may be called a reversed chevron (see also ‘inverted’ and ‘reversed’).
2) In heraldry, the term for a charge with arms in the shape of a generally (but not invariably) inverted letter ‘V’, and heraldic use frequently suggests that a chevron should have a width equal to one-fifth the field of a banner of arms or shield (see also ‘party’, ‘per chevron’, ‘pile 2)’ and ‘reversed 2)’).

Example Campina Grande, Brazil Boelenslaan, Netherlands Otovice, Karlovy Vary; Czech Republic North American Vexillological Association
From left: Example; Flag of Campina Grande, Brazil; Flag of Boelenslaan, Netherlands; Flag of Otovice, Karlovy Vary; Czech Republic (fotw) ; Flag of NAVA, US (fotw)

Please note with regard to 1) that the Editors have adopted a heraldic model in defining a chevron on flags, however, please note also that there are conflicting definitions with regard to the standard vexillological orientation of a chevron and that usage of this term has not yet settled upon a consistent approach.

Please note with regard to 2) that a chevron may also be embowed - see ‘embowed’.

Lamboing, Switzerland
Flag of Lamboing, Switzerland (fotw)

A heraldic term used when two or more chevrons are displayed together on a shield or banner of arms, and heraldic use frequently suggests that a chevronel should be one-half the width of a chevron (see ‘chevron’ above).

Please note that in heraldry the standard orientation of a chevronel is the same as that of a chevron and that variations of this standard may be described using the terminology given in 2)’ above.

A heraldic term for the top horizontal section of a shield or banner of arms, however, heraldic use frequently suggests that a chief should be one-third of the total depth of that shield or flag (see also ‘banner of arms’, ‘base’ and ‘shield 2)’).

[chief example]

See ‘cross of the order of the knights of Christ’.

One of a number of designs symbolizing Christianity, especially the white flag with a blue canton containing a red Latin cross designed in 1897 by Charles Overton, and used by various Protestant groups – an ecclesiastic, ecclesiastical or church flag - but see ‘religious flag’ (also ‘church flag 2)’).

[Christian flag] Anglican Curce
Charles Overton’s Flag (fotw); The Anglican Catholic Church, US (fotw)

Please note that usage of the Charles Overton flag was originally (largely) confined to the United States, but evidence of growing use elsewhere has been reported.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for the bearer of a standard, flag or banner upon which the figure of Christ crucified was depicted.

See ‘banner 3)’.

1) See ‘Christian flag’ and ‘religious flag’.
2) In UK usage and some others, the flag flown from or outside a church; particularly that flown from an Established (or Anglican) Church defaced with the appropriate diocesan arms.

[church flag example]
The Anglican Diocese of Chester (fotw)

In US, UK and some other naval usage, the pennant hoisted aboard a warship or naval shore establishment during religious services (see also ‘bethel flag’ and ‘flying angel flag’).

[Church pennant - UK, Netherlands] [Church pennant - US]
Pennants, UK and The Netherlands (CS); US (CS)

Please note however, that in US usage this may also be called a worship pennant, particularly when in connection with a non-Christian service.

[Church pennant - Jewish worship pennant US]
Jewish Worship Pennant, US (CS & fotw)

The heraldic term for a charge in the form of a stylized flower having five leaves and often pierced in the centre – a quinterfoil or quintefeuille.

cinquefoil example German speakers - German
from left: cinquefoil example; Flag of the German Speaking Community, Belgium (fotw)

See ‘monogram’.

See ‘award flag’.

See ‘civic flag 1)’.

1) See ‘banner 3)’.
2) A term used when the flag of a municipality or urban area is a banner of arms – see ’civic flag’ (also ’banner 1)’).

[civic banner example] [civic arms for banner example]
Banner and Arms of the City of Birmingham, UK (fotw)

1) The heraldic term for a closed garland or chaplet composed of oak leaves and acorns (see also ‘crown triumphal’ and ‘garland’).
2) See ‘mural crown 1)’.

[civic crown]
A Heraldic Civic Crown (Parker)

1) The flag of a municipality or urban area – a municipal flag or city flag (see also ‘banner 4)’.
2) In UK usage, as above but also the sub-national flag of a county (see also ‘sub-national flag’).
3) See ‘civil flag’.

[civil example] [civil example]
Flag of Ludwigslust, Germany (fotw); Flag of Northumberland County, UK (fotw)

That flag flown at civilian airports, landing fields and by civil air authorities (see also ‘royal air mail pennant’).

Please note that in British use (and in that of some Commonwealth countries) such a flag is called a civil air ensign (see also ‘air mail flag’).

[Civil air ensign - UK] [Civil air ensign - Pakistan] [Civil air ensign - Ghana] [Civil air ensign - Israel] [Civil air ensign - Poland]
From left: Civil Air Ensign, UK (fotw); Civil Air Ensign, Pakistan (fotw); Civil Air Ensign, Ghana (fotw); Airport Authorities, Israel (fotw); Civil Air Flag, Poland 1930–32 (fotw)

See under ‘ensign’.

The version of a national or provincial flag that is for use by private citizens on land (see also ‘national flag’, ‘official flag 2)’, ‘state flag’, ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘sub-national flag’ with following notes).

Civil Flag and National Flag of Guatemala Civil flag - Canary Islands Official flag - Canary Islands
From left: Civil Flag and National Flag of Guatemala (fotw); Civil Flag and Official Flag of The Canary Islands, Spain (fotw)

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