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Dictionary of Vexillology: P (Pierced - Ployé)

Last modified: 2017-06-21 by rob raeside
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PIERCED
1) In vexillology, a heraldically derived term sometimes used to describe a flag with a plain border around a plain centre panel – for example a white flag pierced red as shown below (see also ‘border’, ‘panel’ and ‘plain 2)’).
2) In heraldry the term used when a charge (such as a quatrefoil or mullet) has a hole in its centre (see also ‘quatrefoil 2’, ‘star 2)’ and ‘voided’).
3) See ‘transfixed’.

pierced example  pierced example  pierced example
From left: Flag of Ra's al-Khaymah, UAE (fotw); Example; Flag of Voždovac, Serbia (fotw)


PIERCED MULLET
In heraldry see ‘rowel’.

pierced example pierced example
Arms and Flag of Font, Switzerland (CS & fotw)


PIGSTICK
See ‘truck 2)’.

PIKE
In British and some other military usage the staff upon which an infantry colour is carried (see also 'colour 2)', ‘colours 2)’ and ‘staff 2)’).

Push of Pike
“Push of Pike”, Battle of Rocroi 1643

Please note that the term is derived from the long-shafted spear with which a proportion of infantry were formerly armed, and whilst the term is still applied, the staff may often no longer have a spear point, but may carry a finial of some other design – see ‘finial’.


PILE
1) On flags, a triangular charge whose base generally occupies the full length or width of a flag, and whose apex touches the centre of its opposite edge - a triangle throughout. When the apex is on the fly it may be called a simple pile, with the apex on the hoist a reversed pile, with the apex on the top edge an upright pile and with the apex on the bottom edge of the flag an inverted pile (see also ‘reversed’, ‘triangle’) and ‘upright’).
2) In heraldry, an elongated triangular charge which is less than the full width of a shield or banner of arms (although it is sometimes stipulated that the pile should be one-third the width of that shield or banner of arms), is occasionally wavy or embowed and is generally (although not invariably) placed with the point downwards – but see ‘per chevron’ and its following note (also ‘chapé’, ‘embowed’, the note following ‘per pile’, ‘reversed 2)’ and ‘wavy’).
3) On obsolete military colours, one of four triangular charges that narrow from a flag’s corner towards its centre – wedges - see ‘pile(s) wavy 1)’ (also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’).

Eritrea Houvet, Belgium Sarovcova Lhota, Czech Rep. Antigua-Barbuda [pile] [pile]
National Flag of Eritrea (fotw); Flag of Houvet, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Šárovcova Lhota, Czech Rep. (fotw); National Flag of Antigua-Barbuda (CS); Example; Colour of the Hamburg State Police c1936 - 1945, Germany (fotw)

Please note with regard to 1), however, that on flags a triangular charge whose apex and/or base do not touch opposite edges of the flag should be considered a triangle - see ‘triangle’.


PILE EMBOWED (ARCHED or ENARCHED)
See ‘pile 2)’ and ‘embowed’ (also the note following ‘per pile’).

[pile embowed]
Flag of Oberdorf, Switzerland (fotw)


PILE REVERSED (DEBASED, EVERTED, INVERTED, SUBVERTED or SUBVERTANT)
See ‘pile 2)’, ‘reversed 2)’ and ‘per chevron’ with its following note (also ‘chapé’ and the note following ‘per pile’).

[pile reversed] [pile reversed]
Flag and Arms of Gharbhur, Malta (fotw and ICH)


PILE(S) WAVY
1) On flags, particularly (but not exclusively) obsolete military colours, one or more wavy edged (that is flame-like) triangles which generally narrow from the corner or corners towards the centre – a wedge wavy - see ‘pile 3)’ (see also ‘wavy flame’ and ‘flammes 1)’).
2) In heraldry, see ‘pile 2)’ and ‘wavy’.

[pile wavy]  [pile wavy]  [pile wavy]  [pile wavy]
Colour of the 18th Regiment of Foot c1750, Prussia (fotw); Colour of the 27th Regiment of Foot c1750, Prussia (fotw); Major’s Colour of the Royal Guards 1685, England (fotw); Flag of Linthal, Switzerland (fotw)


PILGRIMAGE PENNANT (or FLAG)
A small triangular pennant, or occasionally a handwaver size flag, purchased as the souvenir of a spiritual (usually Roman Catholic) pilgrimage, religious festival or special place of worship, and often made from paper (see also ‘handwaver’).

PILOT FLAG
That flag which is flown by a vessel requiring or carrying a pilot, now either G for Golf (if requiring a pilot) or H for Hotel (if under pilotage) from the International Code of Signal Flags  (see also ‘International Code of Signal Flags’ and ‘signal flag’).

Signal flags Gold and Hotel
From left: Signal Flag Golf (CS); Signal Flag Hotel (CS)

Please note however, that many countries originally had their own designs for pilot flags, of which the UK version - that is the national flag with a white border - is typical of the type and a rare survival (see ‘civil jack’ under ‘jack’ and ‘pilot jack’). See supplemental note:

Belgium former pilot flag  Netherlands former pilot flag  Germany former pilot flag
From left: Former Pilot Flag of Belgium (CS); Former Pilot Flag of The Netherlands (Zachary Harden); Pilot Flag of Germany 1935 – 1945 (fotw)


PILOT JACK
In UK usage, the flag introduced in 1823 as the signal for a pilot and replaced (in that role) c1970 by the ICS flags listed under “pilot flag”; it is now considered an alternative term for the British civil jack (see ‘civil jack’ under ‘jack’, ‘Marryat’s code’, ‘pilot flag’ plus its following note and ‘union jack’).

[a pilot jack] [a pilot jack]
UK Pilot Jacks de jure and de facto (fotw & Clay Moss)

Please note that the date upon which this flag began to be flown as a civil jack is unknown, but possibly as early as the mid-19th Century.


PINSEL (or PINCEL)
A triangular pennant used by the authorized representative of a Scottish clan chief in that person’s absence. It has a solid field and is 0.60 x 1.35m long, it is generally charged with the grantee’s crest within an annulet or ring (ensigned with a coronet or bonnet dependent upon rank), and the grantee’s motto – a pensel or pincel (see also ‘annulet’, ‘ensigned’, ‘guidon 3)’,  'pennon 3)’, ‘ring’ and ‘standard 4)’).

[a pinsel]
Pinsel of the Clan Fraser (Fraserchief)


PIPE BANNER
See ‘bannerette’.

[a pipe banner]
Pipe Banner/Bannerette, 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles, UK (Klaus-Michael Schneider)


PIPING
A term for that edging which emphasizes any raised detail on a flag or emblem - but see ‘raised detail’.  

[a pipe banner]
Flag Patch, German c1939 (WarRelics.com)


PIRATE FLAG
See 'jolly roger'.

[pirate flag]
Pirate flag (fotw)


PLACE OF HONOUR
1) On a flag see ‘honour point 1)’.
2) Of a flag or coat of arms see ‘position of honour’.

PLAIN
1) See ‘undefaced’.
2) On flags, the term that is applied to a flag which has a monocoloured field, or to a bicolour, tricolour, triband or multi-stripe which carries no charges other than its stripes, or to an undecorated border or panel consisting of a single colour (see also ‘bicolour 1) & 2)’, ‘border’, ‘charge 1) & 2)’, ‘monocolour’, ‘multi-stripe’, ‘panel’, ‘pierced 1)’, ‘triband 1) & 2)’ and ‘tricolour 1) ;& 2)’).
3) In heraldry the term is sometimes used to describe a simple charge when it is displayed in the same quarter of a coat of arms with another which is decorated or in some way altered – for example a plain chevron may be surrounded by an engrailed border (see also ‘bordure’, ‘charge 1)’, ‘coat of arms 2)’, ‘chevron 1)’, ‘engrailed’ and ‘quarter 2)’).
PLANTAGENET CROWN
See ‘antique crown 2)’.

[Plantagenet crown]


PLATES
A heraldic term for a number of particularly (but not exclusively) white or silver discs – roundels argent – but see ‘quinas’ (also ‘bezant’, ‘hurt’, ‘roundel 3)’ and ‘torteau’).

example Ichtegem, Belgium Koelkelare, Belgium
From left: example; Flag of Ichtegem, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Koelkelare, Belgium (fotw)

Please note that in strict English heraldic usage this term should only be employed when the charge described is white/silver (“argent”) - see ‘tinctures’.


PLOYÉ
In heraldry see ‘embowed’.

Fischbach-Goslikon Fischbach-Goslikon
Flag of Fischbach-Goslikon, Switzerland (fotw)


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