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Dictionary of Vexillology: B (Banner)

Last modified: 2017-06-20 by rob raeside
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    1) See ‘banner of arms’.
    2) A long vertically orientated flag - originally of Germanic origin and now characteristic of both German speaking and other Central European countries - a vertical flag - it is square-ended or swallow tailed, usually consists of the main flag charge and livery colours (with the main or first colour to the dexter) and is specifically designed to be hung by its top edge from a horizontal cross bar attached to a vertical mast - not to be confused with the hanging flag as defined separately herein and the similar (but usually shorter and more elaborately designed) gonfalon (see also ‘bannerhead’, ‘cross bar’, ‘dexter’, ‘dexter edge’, ‘flag charge’, ‘gonfalon 1)’, ‘hanging flag’, ‘hoisted flag’, ‘livery colours’, ‘outrigger flag’, ‘sinister edge’ and ‘vertically hoisted flag 1)’).
    3) A usually (but not exclusively) elaborately designed flag-like cloth (possibly shaped and fringed on its bottom edge), or rectangular with plain field and inscription, that is suspended from a crossbar and/or between two vertical poles, and carried in procession or at a gathering or flown from a flying line – an ecclesiastical, church or religious banner, processional banner, corporation or civic banner, trade union banner, protest banner, sporting banner, advertising banner or similar (see also ‘cross bar’, 'flying line', ‘gonfalon 1)’ and ‘labarum 2)’).
    4) A term used to describe the version of a civic flag (often mounted on a gilded staff with special finial) that is adorned with a fringe and tassels for indoor and/or ceremonial use (see also ‘ceremonial flag 1)’, ‘civic flag’, ‘finial’, ‘fringe’, ‘indoor flag’, ‘official flag 2)’ and ‘staff’).
    5) A flag-like cloth, usually (but not exclusively) rectangular with a plain or elaborated field and inscription that is used in a commercial context and often displayed between two fixed points or from a flying line - an advertising banner (see also ‘flying line’).
    6) In some British, Australian and Canadian (largely but not wholly) military usage, the specially presented ceremonial flag of a military (or other disciplined) organization that may or may not be entitled to bear colours – banner of the army cadet force, national banner of the Australian air training corps, Western Australia police banner, C-in-C’s commendation banner, Canada and banner of the royal Canadian army cadets or similar - but see ‘sovereign’s banner 1)’ and ‘sovereign’s banner 2)’ (also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’).
    7) In China during the Quing Dynasty (1644-1911), one of the eight army divisions originally established by the Manchus, with each being mustered under a different flag (ee also ‘bannerman 2’).
    8) Generically (and poetically) any flag, especially one that is carried by a military force. (see also ‘banner of victory 1)’)

    With regard to 2), it should be also be noted that the Editors have adopted strict German vexillogical practice in that they have drawn a precisely defined distinction between a hanging flag and a banner, with such differences lying in both the method of suspension and in the orientation of the stripes, please note also however, that this may not necessarily apply in all cases.

    [banner illustration]
    C-in-C’s Commendation Banner, Canada (Marc Pasquin)

    [banner illustration]
    The Flag and Banner of Weilrod, Germany (Jorg Majewski)

    Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners
    Flags of The Eight Divisions (or “Banners”) of the Manchu Army based on the Encyclopaedia Britannica (the Shape Shown is Conjectural) (CS)

    Please note with regard to 7) that the flags flown by the Imperial bodyguard (whilst of the same basic pattern) were more elaborate than those of the main Chinese army.

    Manchu army banners Manchu army banners Manchu army banners
    Flags of the First, Third and Fifth Divisions of the Imperial Bodyguard (Nozomi Kariyasu)

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