Heimer’s Book Reviewed by Dubravka Peić Čaldarović in »Vijenac«

Vijenac 375 - 17. srpnja 2008.

Vijenac 375 – 17. srpnja 2008.

In the journal for culture and art of the Croatian Matrix »Vijenac«, nr. 375 of 17 July 2008, a review by Dubravka Peić Čaldarović of the book »Grb i zastava Republike Hrvatske« by Željko Heimer issued by Leykam International, Zagreb, 2008, was published.

Vijenac 375

Željko Heimer, Grb i zastava Republike Hrvatske, Leykam International, 2008.

Standards of the state symbols

Grb Jelačić

The book Grb i zastava Republike Hrvatskewas promoted on the ceremonial session of the Croatian Parliament on 30 May 2008. Its author, Željko Heimer, is the editor of long lasting web site on vexillology, founder of the Croatian Heraldic and Vexillological Association and its current president, and the editor of bilingual Croatian-English journal »Grb i zastava«. The introduction to the book was written by Žarko Domljan, art historian and prominent public and cultural activist, and the chairman of the Parliament in 1990-1992, who also himself actively took part in the legal definitions of the national symbols.

The character of the first presentation of the book in public states of its quality and multidisciplinarity and the wide social and cultural importance. For that reason and the mentioned promotion the this-year’s celebration of the Parliament Day got a special note. It was a rather uncommon event in front of the high audience, appropriately evoking memories to the stucture and initial staps of its functioning. It also put to the agenda review of the unfinished and even unappropriately solved heraldic details, that remained problematic and every-day’s practice of production and use of our national symbols in the last seventeen years.

According to the author, it was indeed the main motive for the writing of his text. Namely, the idea to put his dilemmas regarding the actual problems of the Croatian flag and coat of arms into a book shape was born when he had to draw it for the use in his research “as precise as possible and as colse to the legaly prescribed original”. Since the Constitution in all its versions since 1990 prescribed it only in general terms, several versions of the official coat of arms appeared and used parallelly in Croatia, with more or less variations in certain details. Contrary to the world-wide current practice of having graphical standards for the coats of arms used in official occasions, such as the use of uniformed heraldic colours, stimulated with the modern technical possibilities of interpreting of the nuances within international scales. Therefore, the author took the task to determine in the book the construction details of all elements in the coat of arms and the flag and to propose the colours in accordance with the international scales, such that would provide the best heraldic results. Or, to use his words used at the promotion in the Parliament, indeed the intention to produce the graphical standard was the main motive for the book. Of course, it had to be  based on all available sources and data, but also harmonized with the standards and norms of global herladic and vexillological community.

In accordance with that, the book on 195 pages of larger format is richly equipped with numerous colour illustrations, with sixteen chapters, considering various aspects of the emergence, design, construction and use of the contemporary coat of arms and flag of the Republic of Croatia. For that reason, after the Domljan’s and author’s introduction, an abriged introduction into the auxiliary history sciences: heraldry (study of coats of arms) and vexillology (study of flags) was provided, followed by a short history of the Croatian coat of arms and flag. Then the quotations of the legal prescriptions follow, complemented with examples of modern heraldic practice in the world and relevant domestic sources, so that based on that, he may, for the first time, propose a precise construction, first, of the coat of arms, and then also of the national flag. In that he also analyzed their colours. The instruction for proper use of the flag follow it, first in the use of the national flag itself and then its use in concordance with other flags and highlighting those situations when the use is improper, and finally its use with foreign flag and the flags of ethnic minorities in Croatia. A sepatare chapter deals with the use of Croatian flag on ships – in celebrations and mourning, by maritime and inland navigation services and on the warships. In subsequent chapter the presidential flag and sash is presented, and finally presenting the basic principles of the design and use of the municipal flags and coats of arms. In the appendices, the relevant excerpts from the historical and actual legislation and provided, with the list of various regulations dealing with the issue of coats of arms and flag in Croatia. Particularly valuable addition is the CD with vectorized drawings of the coat of arms and the flag in various formats and for various printing techniques, with a short user manual.

Dubravka Peić Čaldarović

Translated HGZD from Standardi državnoga znakovlja, Vijenac, 375, 17.7.2008.