Last modified: 2017-02-04 by ivan sache
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Flag of the Province of Jaén - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 November 2015
The Province of Jaén (664,916 inhabitants in 2013; 13,496 sq. km) is located in northern Andalusia.
Ivan Sache, 28 June 2009
The flag of the Province of Jaén (provincial website; photo,
photo, photo, photo), adopted on 3 March 2014 by the Provincial Council and submitted the next day to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 20 March 2014 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 8 April 2014 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 68, p. 27 (photo).
The flag is described as follows:
Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 1/1.5 longer - from hoist to fly - than wide, green Pantone 377. In the center the provincial coat of arms, beneath it a golden scroll inscribed with "Provincia de Jaén".
The green field represents the olive tree orchards, the fields and the natural environment of the province.
The flag was inaugurated on 19 March 2014, the Province's Day (video, video, photo), The next day, after the inauguration of the Villages' Fair, a copy of the flag was offered to each of the 97 municipalities forming the province.
[ABC, 2 March 2014]
A survey made by the Diario de Jaén in the first decade of June 2014 revealed that only 46 out of the 97 municipalities flew the provincial flag. Most municipalities invoked practical reasons, for instance the lack of mast required to hoist the new flag.
[Diario de Jaén, 24 June 2014]
Controversy on the flag
Andrés Nicás Moreno, who redacted the memoir supporting the "rehabilitation" of the provincial arms, believes that the process of adoption of the flag was not appropriate. The flag was designed by the Department of Technical Design of the province, without either consulting an expert or calling for proposals. Nicás Moreno claims that Pantone 339 U would have been more appropriate to represent the colour of olive. He further considers the use of the inscribed scroll, as well as the proportions and placement of the shield as flawed. However, Juan Infante, President of the Association of Chroniclers of Jaén, was satisfied with the flag, deemed "consensual" and beyond "personal considerations".
[Diario de Jaén, 6 March 2014]
Flag of the Province of Jaén counter-proposed by the PRAO - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 November 2015
The Partido Regionalista por Andalucía Oriental (PRAO) sent a petition to the Provincial Government, requiring "the suppression of the 'olive' green flag invented for the province and its substitution by the traditional purple flag that was representative for 800 years, first of a kingdom part of the Crown of Castile, and second, as a province." The PRAO argued that the flag of "garish green" colour, said to represent olives, was of bad taste and had been adopted without the consent of the population, questioning the official process of appeal and the use of public funds to push the new design. The party further claimed that "the mining and industrial past of the province counts for nothing". Green was criticized as being "more the colour of Andalusia than of Jaén".
The collective "Linares Novena Provincia", which struggles for the separation of a Province of Linares from the Province of Jaén, was, not unexpectedly, dissatisfied with the flag, adding that neither a purple nor a green flag would represent Linares.
[Diario de Jaén, 6 March 2014]
The coat of arms of the Province of Jaén, submitted on 28 July 2008 by the Provincial Council to the Directorate General of the Local Administration, is prescribed by a Resolution adopted on 18 September 2008 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 3 October 2008 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 198, p. 33 (text).
The coat of arms is described as follows:
Coat of arms: Spanish-French shield. Quarterly, 1. and 4. Or, 2. and 3. Gules. A bordure of 14 pieces in turn gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure and argent a lion rampant gules crowned langued and armed or. Inescutcheon oval argent a Holy Face proper. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed.
The memoir supporting the proposed coat of arms, dated 20 April 2008, was redacted by Andrés Nicás Moreno (Memoria histórica, heráldica y sigilográfica de la Diputación Provincial de Jaén;
El escudo de la Diputación y Provincia de Jaén, Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses 2013, 207: 267-286. The graphical design of the arms is credited to Juan José Millán Miralles.
The Province of Jaén has been using, at least since 1871 the arms of the town of Jaén, its capital, with the addition of the Holy Face and a pomegranate, for the sake of differentiation. The oldest representation of the provincial arms appears on a stamped document dated 11 February 1871, kept in the Historical Archives of the Provincial Council. The arms are "A Spanish-French shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed. Per pale, 1. The image of the Holy Face under a canopy, 2. The coat of arms of the town of Jaén. Grafted in base a pomegranate."
The Holy Face, located, as kept in the cathedral of Jaén according to a local tradition, is the symbol of the Holy Kingdom - the Kingdom of Jaén. The pomegranate recalls that the province depended on the Audiencia territorial of Granada.
Suppressed in 1931 after the proclamation of the Second Republic, the provincial arms were reinstated in 1957 in the design used until now: "A Spanish-French shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed. Quarterly, 1. and 4. Gules, 2. and 3. Argent. A bordure of 14 pieces in turn gules a castle or masoned sable port and windows azure and argent a lion rampant gules crowned langued and armed or. Spanish-French inescutcheon argent a Saint Face proper." The model of the arms appears to have been eventually fixed on 19 September 1957, surmounted by a Royal crown closed and with the correct tinctures in the quarters. This is based on the painting designed in 1941 by Juan de Díos López Jiménez for the Provincial Council.
Accordingly, the proposed coat of arms is a "rehabilitation" of the arms used by the Provincial Council since 1957. The pomegranate represented on the old arms of 1871 was dropped to prevent mistaking with the Province of Granada.
The colour specifications are given as follows (Pantone scale):
Or 117 C Argent 414 C Azure 3005 C Gules 192 C Sable Black
The Saint Face is the most important of the relics kept in the cathedral of Jaén. Several local legends claim that it is the genuine Veronica's Veil, brought back from Rome by St. Euphrasius of Iliturgi. Indeed, the Saint Face was first documented in the 14th century, as the Verónica.
Bishop Nicolás de Biedma (1368-1378; 1381-1383), who erected the cathedral on the site of the former mosque, might have been involved in the transfer of the Saint Face to Jaén; oddly enough, the bishop does not mention it in his last will. What is sure is that the Saint Face was presented to the public only twice a year, on Good Friday and Ascension Day; the cloth was used to bless the neighbouring fields from the balcony of the cathedral. In the brief Salvatoris Domini, Pope Clement VII granted in 1529 indulgences to the pilgrims who would visit Jaén on those days.
To prevent damage from the pilgrims, who struggled to touch and kiss the Saint Face, Bishop Rodrigo Marín Rubio acquired in 1731 a wealthy reliquary, designed by the a noted goldsmith from Córdoba, Francisco José Valderrama. The knot surmounting the reliquary was offered in 1823 by the Duchess of Montemar.
Stolen in 1936, the knot was replaced by a brand new one in 1940, when the Saint Face was found in a garage in Paris and repatriated to Jaén. The knot is a strong metaphor of the link between the Saint Face and the town of Jaén that nothing and nobody can break.
[Website of the cathedral of Jaén]
Ivan Sache, 29 November 2015