Use of tradition for propaganda, 1896.


Design Submitted by the “Anglo-Dane.”


Some Features of the Old Seal. The Old and the New Blended. The Lone Star of the Pacific. To be Considered on Wednesday.

Representative Robertson and Senators Schmidt and McCandless, the committee appointed to secure designs for a great seal yesterday recommended the one submitted by “Anglo-Dane,” who turns out to be Viggo Jacobson, the well known penman.

Mr. Jacobson’s design embodies some of the features of the old seal and includes others that are new to Hawaii in the matter of scrolls or escutcheons.

In working out his ideas he seems to have been animated by a desire to retain from the old coat-of-arms as much as possible and to modify it only sufficiently to meet the exigencies of the new order of things.

He evidently had good reasons for this, for the old design has much to commend it, having been executed by the College of Heraldry in London, England, upon suggestions made by the late Haalilio, a man whose abilities were held in high esteem by foreigners and natives alike.

Mr. Jacobson considered that it was a sound principle to refrain from making a very radical change, thereby avoiding the confusion which would be caused by the adoption of a perfectly new composition, however beautiful in itself, which would be unfamiliar to persons at home and unrecognizable to anyone abroad. The fact that the Government had in its request for designs shown some regard for traditions gave the designers ample scope in laying out their work and in embodying some of the essential characteristics of the old seal in the new.

Mr. Jacobson’s design serves the purpose of illustrating the evolution of Hawaiian history, past, present and future. Proceeding on these lines the original great seal, the keystone of the whole fabric, has been preserved in its entirety.

That the eight bars of the national banner represent the eight inhabited islands under one rule is known, the world over, and in this connection Mr. Jacobson submits that the eight stars in the second and third quarter of the present seal are superfluous and lacking in originality, and the retention of the distinctly typical staff of authority in the fields is more justifiable. The peculiar significance is forcibly set forth in Thrum’s Annual in an article descriptive of the seal: “The white ball, etc., with which the second and third squares are charged was an ancient emblem of the country called Puloulou, and they were placed at the right and left of the gateway, or door, of the chief’s house to indicate protection, or a place of refuge, to which persons might flee from danger and be safe.”

The substitution, on the other hand, in the center of the single star of Hawaii (whose ultimate destiny it, probably, is to become engrafted upon the escutcheon of the greatest of all the Republics) for the ancient embellishments, triangular banner, argent, leaning upon a cross saltire, the exact meaning and origin of which are, to a large extent, shrouded in obscurity, and not likely to meet with any strong objection, while, from an aesthetic point of view, it must be considered a decided improvement.

The difficult problem of devising two human figures as supporters has been happily solved by introducing Kamehameha I. and the Goddess of Liberty, both representing important epochs in the history of Hawaii—the old and new respectively. The contrast of color and sex suggesting not only reconciliation, but the fusion of the races with one another.

The irradiating sun above the shield is symbolic of the new era which dawned upon Hawaii with the advent of the Republic, while the fabulous bird “Phœnix” is Hawaii nei herself, rising, rejuvenated, from the ashes of the monarchy. The taro leaves, ferns, etc., are suggestive of the fruitfulness of the soil and the tropical verdure of the country.

The fact that the committee was of the opinion that the old motto should be retained induced Mr. Jacobson to give it greater prominence than theretofore, and, in this particular, he followed the plan carried out in all of the seals in the American States.

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 2/25/1896, p. 1)


The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume XXIII, Number 4234, Page 1. February 25, 1896.

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