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Ullensvang (Norway)

Last modified: 2002-11-16 by elias granqvist
Keywords: ullensvang | fleurs-de-lis (3) | lilies (3) | fess: yellow |
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by Jan Oskar Engene, 29 June 2002

Approved on 8 November 1979.

See also:

About the flag

Ullensvang municipality is situated in Hordaland county.

The flag flown by Ullensvang consists of three yellow lilies are set between a horizontal stripe, also yellow, two above and one under on a field of red. This design is patterned on the arms found on a tomb stone in Ullensvang church. The arms are those of Sigurd Brynjulvson who died in 1302 or 1303. An old pattern like this is the reason why an exception was made to the rule [upheld in Norwegian heraldry] that arms should consist of only one motive. By Royal resolution of the 8 November 1979 the flag was approved, the designer being Magnus Hardeland. The drawing of the flag accompanying the grant application shows a rectangular flag. However, the heraldic authorities at the National Archives commented that the flags made would have to be square, so I made the drawing of the flag square.

Jan Oskar Engene, 29 June 2002

Source: The text and image are based on research Engene did for an article published in the German vexillological journal Der Flaggenkurier, No. 2, 1996 [joe96]. Consult this article for detailed references to sources.


Official blazon in Norwegian: "I raudt ein gul bjelke følgd av tre gule liljer, to over og ei under bjelken."

Blazoned in English: "Gules a bar or between three fleurs de lis of the same."

English blazon by Zeljko Heimer, 5 August 2002

Is it not necessary to specify that two fleurs de lis are set over the bar and one under?

Jan Oskar Engene, 5 August 2002

No – two over one is the solution that fills the available space best, which is why it is the default, and as such not explicitized. Ole Andersen, 5 August 2002

Actually, it isn't. It is so with shields, that don't have a horizontal axis of symmetry. But not with flags. In flags, a two over one is just as adecuate as a une over two, or even a one at hoist, two at fly or vice-versa (if the flag is square, that is).

A further proof that vexillology is not heraldry and different rules should apply.

When blazons are transferred to flags they have implications in the flag design. What I don't agree with is the thought that because a 2-1 arrangement is default for a shield it should be default for a flag as well. In fact, it seems to me that a 1:2 arrangement is more natural in a flag, for a question of weight.

So, I understand that you are talking about the blazon-lingo and aplying it directly to banners-of-arms as it is usually done. My point is that this should not be done. Blazon might be a good starting point to describe flags, but it should be adapted to the specifics of flags.

Jorge Candeias, 6 August 2002

Yes, of course. And in banners-of-arms, the specifics are:

"This is a banner of the arms of So-And-So, which are blazoned: [insert blazon here]."
Since the arms are defined by the blazon, and generally only the blazon, the rules for blazoning apply also to banners-of-arms.

If other descriptions are needed, then the flag is not a banner-of-arms.

Ole Andersen, 6 August 2002

I think a blazon is not enough to describe a flag, even if we are speaking of banners-of-arms. Sure, officials may not be aware of the specificities of flags (usually aren't) and think that a blazon is all that is needed. But we, as vexillologists (or whatever you wish to call yourselves), should know better than that and insist in the adoption of a language that does take into account these specificities. Derived from blazon? Why not? But the keyword here is "derived", not "blazon".

Jorge Candeias, 7 August 2002

A banner-of-arms is not derived from blazon, nor is a coat-of-arms. A coat-of-arms is described by a blazon, and a banner-of-arms is a coat-of-arms, only on a specific surface.

Ole Andersen, 7 August 2002

I mean it's the lingo to describe the flag that might be derived from blazon, not a banner of arms nor a coat of arms.

Jorge Candeias, 7 August 2002

You mention specificities. I assume that you mean it in a construction-sheet-like way. That would be an error – it would be claiming a specificness that is not in the prescription. If a specific design is used, even though other designs would be equally good, then we should of course note so. It is very much a question of form vs. content.

Ole Andersen, 8 August 2002

I think fess is better here than bar. A fess between three charges is a common design in British arms. A single bar is a rarity and would have to be notably narrower to be taken for such. Subject to correction from other more knowledgeable, of course.

Joe McMillan, 5 August 2002

I was lead to believe that the term fess is used only in such compunds as "per fess" and similar, and that the horizontal stripe that would match it is bar if of normal size, or barrulete if thinner. I might be wrong, though...

Zeljko Heimer, 5 August 2002

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