JMcMillan wrote: Jonathan Webster wrote:
It is armorial, but since the arms on it were already those of the United States, they can't be the arms of Illinois.
Could not an argument be made for the shield on the Illinois Seal to be the Arms of Illinois? Yes,
the Arms on the shield are very similar to those of the United States but as we all know (or should); the Arms of the United States do not have thirteen stars on the chief, and the Arms on that shield are also palewise of twelve pieces rather than thirteen and it is Gules first then Argent rather than the other way around as in the National Arms. The same argument could be used for Mississippi: yes, the Arms are based on those of the United States, but again, the Arms of the US do not have eleven stars on the chief either, and the supporter is a different tincture from that of the United States, and the shield is divided palewise in eleven pieces, not thirteen. In that sense, as they are borne on seals and seals that depict Arms by their very nature depict the Arms of the person, corporation or state they represent, why aren't they the Arms of these states? Surely the stars, as well as the other differences are enough to difference them from the Arms from the US themselves.
I don't buy it in the case of Illinois because there are too many other erroneous emblazonments of the U.S. arms on various seals, of which this is (to me) clearly one. For example, at one time the Department of Justice seal ...
also showed stars on the chief and the wrong number of stripes, but there was clearly no intent to create thereby a new coat of arms, and the seal was eventually corrected.
In Mississippi's case, there is already an official coat of arms as well as a seal. The present seal...
is yet another erroneous emblazonment of the U.S. arms, deriving from the original seal of the Mississippi Territory, which was a correct emblazonment of the U.S. arms...
...that has been corrupted over the years, doubtless by exporting the SVG file to JPEG format over and over.
The Mississippi arms are an interesting if not attractive hybrid.
Note the starless chief in this emblazonment from the official state website, but still the wrong number of stripes--neither specified in the law on the coat of arms. In fact, that law doesn't mention the U.S. shield at all. What is says is: "a shield, blue in color, with an eagle upon it with extended pinions, holding in the right talon a palm branch and bundle of arrows in the left, with the word "Mississippi" above the eagle; the lettering on the shield and the eagle to be in gold" (Miss. Code Sec. 3-3-41).
Now this legally prescribed blazon, minus the name of the state in chief, would make a very passable coat of arms: "Azure an eagle displayed with wings inverted Or holding in the dexter talon a palm branch and in the sinister a sheaf of arrows proper." Of course, the symbols are so little evocative of the state that without the name tag ("Hi, my name is MISSISSIPPI") no one would know whose arms they were.