Symbols of Concultures

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Symbols of Concultures

Post by Yačay256 » 14 Jun 2011 00:54

Such as flags, seals, mottos, anthems and national floral and fauna. Post your conculture's here!

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The flag (above) of Mbåwinga is a square bicolor with the H-fractal to the 4th dimension in black, representing the interconnected Nmimbåwinga people, inside a green background surrounding it for both raffia palm leaves and the prosperity that they enjoy.

Note: Only the green square with the fractal in it is part of the flag; the rest is simply leftover paper ;-) .
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Micamo » 14 Jun 2011 11:55

National anthems and plants? I'm sorry but such things make no sense to me, unless you have these things solely to imitate modern real-world nation-states, in which these practices still make no sense.

However, "symbols" in the sense of abstract symbolism, such as black being for mourning and the heart meaning love.... I do have a few ideas related to that.

Acoi believe the animals that appear in the world represent different aspects of the human psyche, in quite a literal sense. When the people embrace the thing the animal represents, its population goes up, while if people shun and avoid it, the population goes down. The bear, for example, represents the breaking of promises and oaths. If people have not been faithful to their obligations recently, the Acoi believe more bears will appear in the wild as punishment.

As for Midh, the color black represents warmth and protection, and the moth represents paranoia. The second one is actually from an old folk legend about a bad spirit who used moths to spy on its victims before killing them. Nowadays it is unanimously taken to be just a fairy tale, but in older days the more superstitious ones would take the appearance of moths as a bad omen because of the story. So the moth has come to represent excessive fear over nothing.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Trailsend » 14 Jun 2011 12:49

Micamo wrote:National anthems and plants? I'm sorry but such things make no sense to me, unless you have these things solely to imitate modern real-world nation-states
what
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Micamo » 14 Jun 2011 13:02

Dare I ask, what exactly is the purpose of things like "State Rocks?"
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Trailsend » 14 Jun 2011 15:08

Iconization of a relevant facet of local history?

But let's not shift the goalposts. The cultural value of a state rock may be marginal, but we're talking about national anthems, which are rather explicit devices for celebrating defining cultural/national features (at least as perceived by the people, or projected by the government on the people) and from that perspective are certainly not useless.

It also seems rather strange to suppose that no conworld ever conceived could ever find any purpose for a national anthem or tree besides mimicking modern real-world nation-states.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Curlyjimsam » 14 Jun 2011 15:16

Some people do make conworlds to mimic modern nation-states, or something not too far from them, you know ...

I don't think "state rocks" or anything make inherently any less sense than state flags or anything like that. As to flora and fauna - it's a very old tradition in many cultures worldwide to have totemic animals or, sometimes, plants, so you can't really ridicule that as automatically unrealistic in a conworld ...

I actually do have state rocks (well, precious stones) in Atlia, something which goes back to the ancient Naktic Empire which had obsidian as a major symbol. Admittedly, it's a bit more central to the culture than state rocks perhaps are on Earth - government figures have the state stone in their crowns and rings and things - but they're just as valid a symbol (in this case) as a flag or whatever.

The Atlian "flag" (more like a standard) is three vertical strips of red-yellow-red. The Viksen flag/standard has a yellow background on which is set a white cross outlined in black.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Micamo » 14 Jun 2011 15:24

I'm the only person I know who remembers from elementary school that the state sport of Maryland is Jousting.

We don't joust here. We never have. We probably never will. Only exceptions are those renaissance fairs and I don't think they're any more common here than in other parts of the country. The only part it iconifies of our "history" is whoever's decision it was to choose the state sport arbitrarily decided to make it jousting.

Make of its value whatever you will, but I can't help but feel that month in the third (fourth?) grade where I had to memorize all the state symbols was nothing more than a gigantic waste of time.

Furthermore, if a particular thing really is so critical to a culture's history that it's sufficient as a symbol of the culture itself, then what need is there for it to be officially designated? You can't change history by decree.

As for totemic plants and animals, I don't think this is quite the same thing. I do not consider myself, in any way, a descendent of the Black-eyed Susan or the Diamondback Terrapin.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Ossicone » 14 Jun 2011 15:53

I've seen jousting. It's really quite boring. They just pick up rings that are hanging down.

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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by cybrxkhan » 14 Jun 2011 16:15

Ossicone wrote:I've seen jousting. It's really quite boring. They just pick up rings that are hanging down.
Isn't it just boring now because you have 0.001% chances of dying instead of 50% or something?
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Ossicone » 14 Jun 2011 16:27

That and watching horses run in a straight line over and over again is also dull.

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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Yačay256 » 14 Jun 2011 17:39

Micamo wrote:Acoi believe the animals that appear in the world represent different aspects of the human psyche, in quite a literal sense. When the people embrace the thing the animal represents, its population goes up, while if people shun and avoid it, the population goes down. The bear, for example, represents the breaking of promises and oaths. If people have not been faithful to their obligations recently, the Acoi believe more bears will appear in the wild as punishment.

As for Midh, the color black represents warmth and protection, and the moth represents paranoia. The second one is actually from an old folk legend about a bad spirit who used moths to spy on its victims before killing them. Nowadays it is unanimously taken to be just a fairy tale, but in older days the more superstitious ones would take the appearance of moths as a bad omen because of the story. So the moth has come to represent excessive fear over nothing.
Interesting about the Acoi believing in the relationship between animals and human qualities. Also the Midh have a similar perception of the color black as being positive as do the Nmimbåwinga.

About What You Said About Symbols: They are not exclusive to modern nation states:

The Nri had the palm leaf as the symbol of their state.

The Wiphala was the flag of the Inka Empire. (Note: The link is in Spanish.)

The Hittites had their sun disk.

And the Romans had their vexilloid.

So state symbols are not confined to modern nation states by any stretch of the imagination; they simply differed in what they were. The Hitties were great metallurgists and had a very important solar diety, so it is not surprising that they had a bronze sun disk. The Inka were great weavers, so a flag is expected. Nri agriculture depended to no small extant on palms, so a palm leaf is perfectly reasonable. And the Romans are part of the foundation of occidental society, so their vexilliod is unsurprisingly similar to modern versions.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Trailsend » 14 Jun 2011 18:41

Huh. Whence the jump from "Maryland has a silly official sport" to "There is no conceivable purpose for having national anthems or plants other than imitating modern real-world nation-states"?
Micamo wrote:Furthermore, if a particular thing really is so critical to a culture's history that it's sufficient as a symbol of the culture itself, then what need is there for it to be officially designated? You can't change history by decree.
This might be sensical if anyone had ever said anything about changing history, but since my post only mentioned iconization and celebration of history/national traits as projected by peoples and/or authorities...it is not. Symbols work because they are assigned a conventional meaning. An official designation is an assignment of conventional meaning. There you go.
Micamo wrote:As for totemic plants and animals, I don't think this is quite the same thing. I do not consider myself, in any way, a descendent of the Black-eyed Susan or the Diamondback Terrapin.
I suspect the Roman legions did not fancy themselves descendants of the Aquila either.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Micamo » 14 Jun 2011 19:00

Trailsend wrote:Huh. Whence the jump from "Maryland has a silly official sport" to "There is no conceivable purpose for having national anthems or plants other than imitating modern real-world nation-states"?
A mere example of a broader pattern. Do you know what your state crustacean is, without looking it up? Such things are silly and pointless. Throwing silly and pointless things into conworlds to give them flavor? Absolutely fine. My problem is national anthems and state animals are silly and pointless things that our world does. I think my revulsion to it is for the same reasons I don't like English cipher conlangs. What's the point of conworlding if you aren't going to do something, well, different?
This might be sensical if anyone had ever said anything about changing history, but since my post only mentioned iconization and celebration of history/national traits as projected by peoples and/or authorities...it is not. Symbols work because they are assigned a conventional meaning. An official designation is an assignment of conventional meaning. There you go.
This is a place I recognize we probably are simply never going to agree on, but I don't think you can or should legislate meaning. How many people actually associate jousting with Maryland? Simply declaring such doesn't make it so.
I suspect the Roman legions did not fancy themselves descendants of the Aquila either.
My point precisely.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Yačay256 » 14 Jun 2011 19:12

Though it makes little sense to mimic things such as state rocks, having flags, seals and maybe a country/state/national animal or plant makes plenty of sense for the reasons I pointed out just a wee bit ago.

For example, I took influence from the Nri in using a palm frond (specifically a raffia palm frond for the Nmimbåwinga) to symbolize their state and civilization via one of its core values, namely "proper conduct" and "act wisely". The flag is an extension of their traditional fractal designs that they decorate most every manufacture with and its meaning is of course explained in the first post.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Micamo » 14 Jun 2011 19:26

You mean as actively used, widely recognized heraldry symbols? That's fine. I apologize for misunderstanding.

I'm not quite sure what I want the Acoi tribes to use for heralds yet, but Midh have heraldic clan symbols in the form of metalwork patterns. Large buildings of importance belonging to the clan will be adorned with this pattern in at least one place, usually on the landing. (Draconic cultures, like Midh, generally fly to the ceiling of a building and descend, rather than enter from the ground and ascend.)
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Trailsend » 14 Jun 2011 19:58

Micamo wrote:A mere example of a broader pattern. Do you know what your state crustacean is, without looking it up? Such things are silly and pointless.
There it is again. Whence the jump from "States have a lot of silly official associations" to "All such things are silly and pointless, so there is no conceivable purpose for having national anthems or plants other than imitating modern real-world nation-states"? You did not speak of trends, you ruled out an entirely family of potential ideas as worthless based on cherry-picked examples.
Micamo wrote:My problem is national anthems and state animals are silly and pointless things that our world does.
Trailsend wrote:we're talking about national anthems, which are rather explicit devices for celebrating defining cultural/national features (at least as perceived by the people, or projected by the government on the people) and from that perspective are certainly not useless.

It also seems rather strange to suppose that no conworld ever conceived could ever find any purpose for a national anthem or tree besides mimicking modern real-world nation-states.
Micamo wrote:I think my revulsion to it is for the same reasons I don't like English cipher conlangs. What's the point of conworlding if you aren't going to do something, well, different?
Like, for example, inventing a history which gives rise to a nation with an officially designated association with a palm frond which is, unlike many real-world state plants, meaningful and not arbitrary?

Micamo wrote:This is a place I recognize we probably are simply never going to agree on, but I don't think you can or should legislate meaning. How many people actually associate jousting with Maryland? Simply declaring such doesn't make it so.
You make the association. You just now made the association. If someone asked you "What sports do you associate with Maryland?" there would be an irritating little corner of your brain that would squeak "Well there's that stupid law they made that says jousting is the state sport for some reason." And all the fourth graders who just memorized the official state designations would do the same thing. For those aware of the declaration, the declaration is certainly enough to form an association, however weak.

How many people actually associate the Maryland state flag with Maryland? That one was also officially declared. It's not the best example, because the Calvert family associations predated the declaration, but take, for example, the Colorado flag--that one was made up for the purpose of being declared as the official flag, and now most folks who see it think of Colorado. (Obviously this isn't just a product of the legislation itself, but also of that legislation's execution...but that's a messy line to draw.)
Micamo wrote:
I suspect the Roman legions did not fancy themselves descendants of the Aquila either.
My point precisely.
And yet, they still had no problem marching under the symbol, and even being named according to the symbol.
Yačay256 wrote:Though it makes little sense to mimic things such as state rocks
WHY DOES IT MAKE LITTLE SENSE? Instant conworlding, one two three go:

- - -
The Talambrian magistrature of Cyrymford is renowned for its vespercite quarries located in the foothills of the Talmynyd mountain range. Outside of Cyrymford, the mineral, prized for its beautiful deep blue hue and mason-friendly texture, is only found in small quantities in an assortment of mountain towns west of Mynydford. Even prior to the Unification, the first volume of Daeryll's Annals of Empire made frequent references to "night-black stone of Cyrys" in catalogues of tribute brought to soon-to-be-emperor Brencynt. Today the stone remains one of the region's most valuable exports and lends its rich color to Cyrymford's official standard and heraldry. In the year 6202, Magistrate Rauyn declared vespercite the official stone of the magistrature.
- - -

How is this a poor addition to a conworld?
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Micamo » 14 Jun 2011 20:04

How is this a poor addition to a conworld?
Because it's exactly the same addition to just say:
Trailsend wrote:The Talambrian magistrature of Cyrymford is renowned for its vespercite quarries located in the foothills of the Talmynyd mountain range. Outside of Cyrymford, the mineral, prized for its beautiful deep blue hue and mason-friendly texture, is only found in small quantities in an assortment of mountain towns west of Mynydford. Even prior to the Unification, the first volume of Daeryll's Annals of Empire made frequent references to "night-black stone of Cyrys" in catalogues of tribute brought to soon-to-be-emperor Brencynt. Today the stone remains one of the region's most valuable exports and lends its rich color to Cyrymford's official standard and heraldry.
Your version has an extra sentence.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Testyal » 14 Jun 2011 20:14

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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Trailsend » 14 Jun 2011 21:02

Micamo wrote:
How is this a poor addition to a conworld?
Because it's exactly the same addition to just say:
Trailsend wrote:The Talambrian magistrature of Cyrymford is renowned for its vespercite quarries located in the foothills of the Talmynyd mountain range. Outside of Cyrymford, the mineral, prized for its beautiful deep blue hue and mason-friendly texture, is only found in small quantities in an assortment of mountain towns west of Mynydford. Even prior to the Unification, the first volume of Daeryll's Annals of Empire made frequent references to "night-black stone of Cyrys" in catalogues of tribute brought to soon-to-be-emperor Brencynt. Today the stone remains one of the region's most valuable exports and lends its rich color to Cyrymford's official standard and heraldry.
Your version has an extra sentence.
It is in fact not the same addition. The former quite obviously includes a detail that the latter does not. (It's in that extra sentence.)

Perhaps the stone, now an official emblem of the magistrature, gets added to the magistrature's crest. Perhaps the declaration impacts trade laws. Perhaps the official stones of all the magistratures are used to decorate a monument in the Empire's capital. Perhaps the very fact that a magistrate can and at least occasionally does make formal proclamations about representations of his magistrature is relevant to the setting; it may contribute to the personality of the culture, which perhaps assigns high value to emblems in general or maybe just stone in particular.

The official status of the stone could have any number of infinite possible significances. The fact that you find the significance of similar emblems in your culture lacking can have absolutely no bearing on all possible significances in all conceivable universes.

A priori rejection of an entire concept because you don't care for one instance of it is a terrible idea.
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Re: Symbols of Concultures

Post by Toko » 24 Jun 2011 06:25

Silly and pointless they may be, but they are a common trend nonetheless.

If a conpeople lack a particular sense of nationalism, they are less likely to develop things like "national anthems" or other such specific identities of their state, but based on how many real world nations do create these sort of things it's hardly detracting from the realism of the conworld to include something to the same effect.
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