Last modified: 2011-12-09 by andrew weeks
Keywords: irkutsk | tiger | beaver | sable | marten | law |
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One note: in the law, the wolf isn’t
surrounded by a wreath.
Pascal Vagnat, 21 Dec 1998
The text and the image at the official website
contradicts each other — in this case I’m sure the
text is right.
The web image [at the official website]
was wrong, showing the flag without
the wreath, while the law text prescribes it.
António Martins, 09 Jan 2000 and 12 Jan 2000
I have translated the most important part of this law (from www.express.irk.ru:8101/region/zak/1997_sb.htm), comments in brackets:
The other texts are not very interesting, they describe the use of coat of arms and flag. At time when the first coat of arms had been granted City of Irkutsk (1790), tigers still lived in that region. The huge tiger was symbolised the power of region, and little sable — its wealth. At 1878 almost all russian coats of arms were revised, and because of mistake of Moscow’s officials the tiger have had a black tincture (untill that it was natural) and very strange shape… (the word "babr" is very close to word "bobr" — engl. "beaver"). So, terrible tiger was transformed into river worker — beaver.
CHAPTER II — Oblast’s coat of arms
Article 4. coat of arms’s description1. Blazon «Argent, running black babr [the old russian (siberian) name of tiger] with red eyes, holding of sable [fur animal like ermine] in its mounth.» The heraldic colours are symbolising:
a) black — prudence, humility, sorrow;
b) red — courage, unfearity
CHAPTER III1. Flag is a rectangular with 3 vertical stripes, two ones are blue and middle one is white. In the center of the last — the main part of coat of arms is — black babr running to the left side and holding of red [as in the description!] sable in its mouth. The babr is surrounded with stilized branches of cedar. [the image has a mistake — the wreath is ommitted]. Proportions: 2:3. The width of middle stripe is 1/2 of flag’s length. The flags colours are symbolising:
a) blue — symbol of water. At this context it symbolises Baikal Lake, Angara and other rivers of region;
b) white — symbol of purity, good, modesty. It symbolises the purity of thougths of the region’s habitants. Also, it is symbol of white Siberian winters;
c) green colour of cedar’s branches — colour of hope, joy, abundance. It is also symbol of unical flora and fauna, the forest wealth of region.
Irkutsk became a town in 1686 and after another 10 years was granted the
arms of argent a panther, running on green grass holding a sable in its jaws.
From: The Complete Guide to the Soviet Union, Victor and Jennifer Louis,
Jarig Bakker, 08 Jul 2001
Speransov’s book [spe74]
said basically that the coat of arms of Irkutsk
oblast is based on the preious coat of arms of the
city of Irkutsk. That one is gained on 26 Oct 1790:
«Argent, running tiger holding a merten in
his mouth.» based on older seal used by the city.
Accompanying image showes the tiger in natural
colours, running over a green naturalistic field
with some stones in the base of shield. As far as
I can understand, the real tiger, that was not
known in the region was soon replace by some other
local anymal, and when the Irkutsk Governorate gained
shield in 5 Jul 1878, the animal was officialy a
black babr The naturalistic field in base is
lost, and directon of running is not to the
heraldically proper dexter. The image acoompanying
this is very similar to what is posted on the
but it is not the same artwork. The image
on the site also is missing the shield, and silver
background of it.
Željko Heimer, 26 Sep 1998
As for the animals depicted, there seems
to be some confusion: The current law says it
is a black tiger holding a sable (animal, not
tincture) on it’s mouth — but the animal on
the flag looks rather like a wolf… To
complicate matters even further, the coat of
arms shows a large Mustelidae instead of
the wolf / tiger shown in the other images…
António Martins, 12 Jan 2000
The Irkutsk big animal is actually tiger
(= "babr" in some local dialect) but
during a revision of Russian coats of arms during XIX
century (or in first decade of the XX century?
I’m not sure), this animal began to be
erroneously depicted as wolf-like beast.
The sable is indeed Martes zibellina, an
East Euroasian marten. The heraldic term "sable",
by the way, is not color but fur, originally.
Jan Zrzavy, 13 Jan 2000
The real question is: what is shown on actual
flags currently flown by the dozen on the territory
of Irkutsk region and on other selected locations
António Martins, 13 Jan 2000
are shown two coats of arms of the city.
One that shows the fox on a russian flag
shield, and another which isn’t clear enough
but look like the old imperial one.
Dov Gutterman, 16 Dec 1998
Horizontal 1:2 tricolor of dark orange — red — white, as
displayed at the Catalonian Vexillological Association’s
on-line database on Russian flags, at
António Martins, 16 Nov 1998
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