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Dictionary of Vexillology: D (Daimyo Flags - Dexter Hoist)

Last modified: 2015-05-26 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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1) Generically, a term for those flags that were in use prior to the Japanese Imperial restoration of 1868/71 – a nobobi, hata-sashimono / sashimono and/or uma-jirushi – but see notes below (also (also ‘hinomaru’ and ‘mon’)
2) Specifically, a term that refers to the personal and war flags of Japanese feudal lords, and in use until the 17th Century.

Daimo flags

With regard to 1), the varying types of (historical) Japanese flag are in the process of detailed classification, and the terms given above have been limited to those in general use.
b) The“sashimono” and “uma-jirushi”, whilst currently employed to describe flags, can also refer to a vexilloid - see ‘vexilloid 2)’.

The heraldic term used when an ordinary such as a fess, bend or pale, or the line of a division on a shield, banner of arms or flag, is saw-toothed – dancetté, dentelé or dentilly - but see ‘indented’ and ‘serrated’ (also ‘ordinary’, ‘stepped’ and ‘wolfteeth’).

Arms - Poiares e Canelas, Portugal Flag - Poiares e Canelas, Portugal  Arms - KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa  Flag - Tetouan 1968 – 76, Morocco  Flag - Tetouan 1968 – 76, Morocco
Arms and Flag of Poiares e Canelas, Portugal (fotw); ; Arms of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (fotw); Flag of Castro de Filabres, Spain (Klaus-Michael Schneider); Flag of Tetouan 1968–76, Morocco (fotw)

See ‘red flag 1)’.

danger flag

Literally “Danish-cloth”, and the current national flag of Denmark. (see also ‘splittflag’)

National Flag of Denmark (fotw)

1. (adj) A generally employed Latin term for ‘in practice’, and used in vexillology to indicate flags in actual use as opposed to those as laid down by law or regulation (see also ‘de jure’ and the note below).
2. (adj) A term sometimes employed to describe a flag which is in use, but which has not been officially established by law or regulation – but see note below de jure (also ‘unofficial flag’).

Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
The Reverse of the National Flag of Saudi Arabia in some De Facto use (fotw); The Reverse of the National Flag of Saudi Arabia as regulated; National Flag of Zimbabwe in some De Facto use, and as regulated.

(adj) A generally employed Latin term for ‘in law’, and used in vexillology to indicate a flag as laid down by law or regulation, as opposed to those in actual use (see also ‘flag law’, ‘de facto’, ‘official flag 1)’, ‘specification sheet’, and the notes below).

It is suggested that the above terms should not be used when describing a flag for which no known official specifications exist, therefore, no de jure design from which a de facto flag may differ, and under these circumstances we recommend that the term “variant” be employed - see ‘
variant 2)’.

b) An example of de jure as opposed to de facto is the proportions of the Belgian national flag which is regulated at 13:15, but which is most often see in practice with the civil ensign ratio of 2:3.

Belgium  Belgium civil ensign  Vatican Vatican
National Flag of Belgium as regulated, plus the Civil Ensign of Belgium as regulated (which is also the de facto National Flag); National Flag of the Vatican as regulated, and the unofficial 2:3 version actually flown

See ‘reversed 2)’.

debased example

A heraldic term used in place of ‘surmounted by’ particularly when a charge or ordinary (which may or may not touch the field) is being placed over an animal – but see ‘surmounted, by’ (also ‘charge 1)’, ‘ensigned’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘overall 2)’).

L’Abbaye, Switzerland Alto do Seixalinho Alto do Seixalinho
Flag of L’Abbaye, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Alto do Seixalinho, Portugal (fotw)

A term to describe the practice, now obsolete, of showing a display of flags along the deck of a ship as illustrated below – see ‘pavisade’ and ‘streamer 2)’ (also ‘ancient’ and ‘postures’).

deck flags
The Salamander, English Royal Navy c1525 (Wikipedia)

A term for the custom of foot guards in British and Canadian service of placing a garland or chaplet of laurel – a crown triumphal - at the top of the regimental colour pike or staff on days of significance in regimental history (see also ‘colour 2), ‘colours 2)’, ‘crown triumphal’, ‘garland’, ‘pike’, ‘staff 2)’ and ‘wreath of immortelles’).

See ‘paying off pennant’.

See ‘garnished’.

Častrov, Czech Republic Častrov, Czech Republic
Flag and Arms of Častrov, Czech Republic (fotw)

See ‘moon 2)’ with following note.

Schinznach, Switzerland
Flag of Schinznach, Switzerland (fotw)

1. (v) In UK usage and some others, a term for the addition of any authorised (or apparently authorized) emblem, badge, shield, charge or device to a flag (see also ‘archivexillum’, ‘badge’, ‘charge’, 'defaced', 'device', ‘emblem’ ‘shield’ and ‘undefaced’).
2. (v) In US usage and some others, the term may also be used to include any unauthorized addition – but see note below.

Training Ship Foudroyant ensign defaced ensign defaced ensign defaced ensign
Ensign of the Training Ship Foudroyant c1817 – 1897 (fotw); Flag of the British Virgin Islands (fotw); Canadian Red Ensign 1957 – 1965 (fotw); Civil Ensign of New Zealand (fotw)

Please note that in heraldry and vexillology the term has no pejorative connotation (but see also ‘desecrate’ and/or ‘disfigure’).

(adj) The term used to describe a flag which is often flown plain, but in this case is seen with an authorized addition (see also ‘archivexillum’, ‘blue ensign’, ‘deface 1)’, ‘red ensign’ ‘undefaced’ and ‘warrant’).

UK Government ensign UK reserve ensign Royal St. George Yacht Club ensign UK ensign
From left: Defaced – Government Service Ensign, UK; Undefaced – Reserve Ensign, UK (fotw); Defaced – Royal St George Yacht Club, UK, Undefaced – Civil Ensign, UK (fotw)

The heraldic term used when the front or upper half of an animal, or one-half of another charge is shown on a shield, banner of arms or a flag but see note below – demy or semi.

Pardubice, Czech Republic Romoos, Switzerland Rugen, Germany Gurtmellen, Switzerland
Flag of Pardubice, Czech Republic (fotw); Flag of Romoos, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Rόgen, German (fotw); Flag of Gurtnellen, Switzerland (fotw)

One-half of an animal or other charge that is placed against the centre line of a shield, banner of arms or a flag, is said to be ‘dimidiated’.
b) This term is never used alone, but always with the charge being so described – for example a demi-horse as shown above or a demi-eagle displayed as seen below.

Cheb, Czech Republic Cheb, Czech Republic
Flag of Cheb, Czech Republic (fotw)

See ‘banner 3)’.
See ‘dancetty’ (also ‘serrated’).

Flag of Otago, New Zealand (fotw)

See ‘service pennant’.

coastguard pennant, Sweden
Departmental/Service Pennant, Coastguard, Sweden (fotw)

See ‘emblem military and governmental/departmental’ under ‘emblem’.

Emblem of emblem military and governmental/departmental (fotw)

See ‘width 1)’.


(adj) A term used to describe a rounded (or lanceolate) fly into which a ‘V’ shaped notch has been cut, and a shape often seen in UK cavalry guidons – cloven descate or rounded swallowtail (see also ‘fly 1)’, ‘guidon 2)’, ‘hussar cut’, ‘lanceolate’, ‘pennant’ and ‘swallow tail(ed)’).

[descate flag] [descate flag]
Guidon of the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch, UK (Herman FMY); Guidon of the Blues and Royals, UK (Graham Bartram/Željko Heimer)

In UK usage this pattern of flag/pennant is a direct development of the shape formerly carried by formations of cavalry - see ‘chamfered swallow-tail’.

[descate flag]
Guidon of the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry 1797, UK (fotw)

1) The term for a diagonal stripe that runs from the upper hoist to the lower fly, and is centred on the corners of the flag – a bend, falling diagonal, hoist-diagonal, right diagonal or right diagonal bar - but see ‘bend’ and Appendix IX (also ‘ascending diagonal’, ‘east-south diagonal’, ‘east-west diagonal’, ‘north-east diagonal’, ‘north-south diagonal’, ‘south-east diagonal’, ‘south-north diagonal’, ‘west-east diagonal’, ‘west-north diagonal’, and ‘west-south diagonal’.
2) The term may also be used to describe the division line on a bicolour divided diagonally per bend as shown below – see ‘per bend 1)’ (also ‘bicolour 1)’).

Pará, Brazil Rašov, Czech Republic
Flag of Pará, Brazil (fotw); Flag of Rašov, Czech Republic (fotw)

1) (v) To maliciously damage or mistreat a flag for political or other motives, or to use a flag in a way that is considered disrespectful or inappropriate (see also ‘rules of respect’ and ‘Appendix II’).
2) See ‘disfigure’.

See ‘headquarters flag 2)’.

designating headquarters flag
Designating/Headquarters Flag of a Brigadier General, US Army (fotw)

See ‘table flag’.

desk flag
Desk/Table Flag of Gracišce, Croatia (fotw and CS)

The term describing a custom whereby the flag of the country of destination may be flown at the fore by a merchant ship or pleasure vessel when about to sail (see also ‘fore’).

1) Originally a heraldic term for a temporary mark extra to the coat of arms to distinguish those who entered the lists at tournaments, it now refers specifically to the ‘motto (see ‘motto’).
2) The term used to describe those marks of difference that appear on English military colours of the 17th Century (see also ‘stand 1)’ and ‘venn’).
3) A term sometimes inaccurately applied to any charge, badge or emblem (see also ‘badge’, ‘charge’ and ‘emblem’).

device example device example device example device example
Major’s then First, Second and Third Captain’s Colours, Westminster Liberty Regiment, London. England c1641 (fotw)

The heraldic term for the right hand side of a flag or shield from the point of view of the bearer, or the left hand side from the point of view of an observer (see also ‘sinister’).

dexter example

1) With regard to a shield see ‘dexter’ above.
2) A term that may be used in describing the left hand facing edge of a banner or gonfalon which is hung from a crossbar, and equivalent to the top edge of a conventionally hoisted flag – the leading edge (see also ‘banner 2)’ and ‘gonfalon’).

dexter edge example

A rarely employed term, but one that may be used when the obverse of a flag is depicted (or is manufactured) with its hoist to the observer’s left in accordance with Western tradition – left hoisted - see ‘dexter’ and ‘sinister hoist’ (also ‘hoist 1)’, ‘obverse’ and ‘reverse’).

dexter hoist
National Flag of Moldova (fotw)

Please note, it is usually felt unnecessary to specify the dexter hoist since it is a default assumption in most cases.

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