Aug 30, 2012

Albania, Kingdom of Jerusalem

Today post is about rule of tincture, a tradition that came from heraldry but that everyone interested in flags design will need to know someday. Basically, it says that a color can't be placed over a color, and a metal can't be placed over a metal. Firstly, it's needed to know the heraldic concepts of color and metal.

Light tinctures, i.e. white and yellow, are considered metals. Darker tinctures, i.e. red, blue, green, purple and black, are called colors. Non-traditional tinctures use to be classified as colors, but some scholars defend the sky blue, buff-color and some metallic colors (e.g. iron, steel, bronze) are being metals .

The rule of tinctures is rigidly followed in United Kingdom and Anglophone countries. Nevertheless, in continental Europe, it's mostly used as a aesthetic recommendation, being exceptions more common there. I'll mention and explain two cases of broken rule, one of each case.

It's just a conjectural flag: maybe it was white over yellow instead of yellow over white, and the smaller cross could exist or not. Whatever it broke the rules of tinctures: yellow and white are both heraldic "metals". But there's some freedom in this case: the Kingdom of Jerusalem was a medieval crusader kingdom, so the combination of yellow and white was accepted just because of religious purposes (repair they're Vatican colors).

The rule is also broken in Albanian flag, but for inverse reason: it's considered, by heraldic scholars, "color" over "color". However, Eastern European tradition admit this: there's the marten and zibelline tinctures, looking exactly like red (gules) and black (sable), respectively, but treated as "furs" (a kind of heraldic texture), considered neutral to the rule.

By the way, a little explanation about Albanian flag history: the black double-head eagle over red background was present on the coat of arms of Kastriot family — George Kastriot Skanderbeg fought against Ottoman domination in XV century. In 1912, Albania gained independence from Ottomans again, and the model was remembered, and it has been used, with small changes, since then.

Did you like this post? Do you want to comment about Jerusalem or Albania flags? Have any doubt about the rule of tinctures? Leave a comment, please.

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