German colonial arms

Heraldry of the German speaking countries
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Arthur Radburn
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German colonial arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 27 Mar 2014, 09:08

An heraldic curiosity from a century ago : the arms which the Kaiser's heralds designed for the German colonies in 1914.

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Africa : Togoland (now Togo) -- Kamerun (now Cameroon) -- German South West Africa (now Namibia) -- German East Africa (now mainland Tanzania).

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Oceania : German Samoa -- German New Guinea (now part of Papus New Guinea).

The creation of these arms was inspired by the British system of colonial flag badges, which the German colonial minister had seen during a recent tour of the colonies. The arms never reached the German colonies, though ; World War I broke out before the project was finalised and Germany soon lost the colonies to the Allies.
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Chas Charles-Dunne
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 27 Mar 2014, 12:12

An interesting heraldic cul-de-sac.
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Marcus Karlsson
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Marcus Karlsson » 27 Mar 2014, 19:25

The Eagle found its way unto the Arms used by the South African administrated South West Africa (now Namibia) 1960-1990.

As can be seen here http://www.ngw.nl/int/afr/namibnat.htm

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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Marcus Karlsson » 27 Mar 2014, 19:29

The Paradise Bird are today used as the State Emblem of Papua New Guinea. It is also displayed on the Flag.

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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 27 Mar 2014, 20:56

Marcus Karlsson wrote:The Eagle found its way unto the Arms used by the South African administrated South West Africa (now Namibia) 1960-1990.

As can be seen here http://www.ngw.nl/int/afr/namibnat.htm
The Paradise Bird are today used as the State Emblem of Papua New Guinea. It is also displayed on the Flag.
Yes, it's interesting that the charges in the unused arms later came into use in other forms in those two territories. Great minds thinking alike?

The existence of the German designs seems to have been little known. They were published in an German magazine in 1933, and later printed on postcards. The original drawings, with comments by the Kaiser, reportedly surfaced in the archives in Koblenz a few years ago.
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Chris Green
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Chris Green » 28 Mar 2014, 05:58

Arthur Radburn wrote:
Marcus Karlsson wrote:
The Paradise Bird are today used as the State Emblem of Papua New Guinea. It is also displayed on the Flag.
Yes, it's interesting that the charges in the unused arms later came into use in other forms in those two territories. Great minds thinking alike?


Birds of Paradise are almost exclusively found in New Guinea so it is hardly surprising that they (the males at least) crop up often in Papua New Guinea's publicity and advertising, so why not heraldry too?

I have to say however that using a polychrome bird in heraldry such as the bird of paradise must be a nightmare for both blazon and illustration. Just imagine ...

Let's have a bird of paradise proper: Which one? There are 41 species.

A Wilson's then: OK, but you do realise that isn't found on New Guinea.

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Ah. Erm ... What about the Blue? It is supposedly "the loveliest of all birds" (Wiki). Male or female?

Male of course. OK One male Blue bird of paradise coming up.

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Blazon: Argent a male Blue bird of paradise proper.

How long before someone asks if it should be specified displaying, or perhaps volant?

How long before someone writes the blazon as: Argent a Bluebird of paradise proper?

How long before someone thinks: "Surely the blazon is wrong. He must have meant: Argent a Bird of paradise azure".

Sorry. Got a bit carried away there! My original thoughts were for the poor heraldic artist who must interpret what may be a less than accurate blazon. Choose the wrong species or depict the right species inaccurately and every ornithologist will be squawking loudly.
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JMcMillan
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby JMcMillan » 28 Mar 2014, 12:14

One fairly superficial thing that I find interesting about these particular emblazonments (with the exception of Samoa) is the radically different treatment of the fields and the chiefs. The charges on the fields are done in a very 19th century realistic style that attempts, through detail and shading, to present them three dimensionally. The eagles on the chiefs are flat, simple, medieval looking.

Is the date of these emblazonments known? The artist?
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Ton de Witte
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Ton de Witte » 28 Mar 2014, 12:35

I recall that in Germany they had something called schablone heraldik which means that they used a template for arms and filled in the other bits so to speak. If I look at these pictures they seem to be good candidates for that.
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Marcus Karlsson » 28 Mar 2014, 16:42

Arthur Radburn wrote:
Marcus Karlsson wrote:The Eagle found its way unto the Arms used by the South African administrated South West Africa (now Namibia) 1960-1990.

As can be seen here http://www.ngw.nl/int/afr/namibnat.htm
The Paradise Bird are today used as the State Emblem of Papua New Guinea. It is also displayed on the Flag.
Yes, it's interesting that the charges in the unused arms later came into use in other forms in those two territories. Great minds thinking alike?


Well as for SWA there are only a number of symbols to represent the German part of the History of the Area. And as Chris pointed out Paradise Birds are nearly only found in Papua New Guinea. Making them a first choice as symbol of the Country.

The existence of the German designs seems to have been little known. They were published in an German magazine in 1933, and later printed on postcards. The original drawings, with comments by the Kaiser, reportedly surfaced in the archives in Koblenz a few years ago.


In 2011 Jörg M. Karaschweski published the book "Wappen und Flaggen der deutschen Kolonien" bringing these Arms (and also the planed Flags) to the light again. One thing I noted now is that the German Pact Area in China Kiautschou (with main City Tsingtau) are missing. Obiviously no Arms where forseen for this Area of unknown reasons, or perhaps it is still waiting to be found in Archives?

There was also a begining of Municipal Heraldry in the German Colonies. Tanga in German East Africa was made a City on 1 April 1914. The City Council then sent a request to the Heroldsamt in Berlin for Arms and a Flag. But the World War One put a stop to this process, however the Arms and Flag was nearly done so we know how it would have looked like:

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Flag of Tanga displaying the City Arms.
Last edited by Marcus Karlsson on 29 Mar 2014, 10:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Arthur Radburn
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Re: German colonial arms

Postby Arthur Radburn » 28 Mar 2014, 18:11

JMcMillan wrote:One fairly superficial thing that I find interesting about these particular emblazonments (with the exception of Samoa) is the radically different treatment of the fields and the chiefs. The charges on the fields are done in a very 19th century realistic style that attempts, through detail and shading, to present them three dimensionally. The eagles on the chiefs are flat, simple, medieval looking.

Is the date of these emblazonments known? The artist?
I got these particular images from Wikipedia. They appear to be taken from the original artwork, but they have probably lost some clarity through being copied more than once, and being reduced in size. The date would then be 1914, and the artist presumably someone employed by the Heroltsamt in Berlin.

Here's a larger image of the Samoa arms, from the Bundesarchiv website. The comments in red are by the Kaiser, the note at the bottom (dated 21 June 1914 : a week before the shooting in Sarajevo) apparently by the colonial minister Dr Solf :
Image
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Arthur Radburn
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