Unlocking the symbolism in Morocco’s coat of arms

Unlocking the symbolism in Morocco’s coat of arms
The Royal Coat of ArmsWikimedia Commons

Coats of arms were used primarily to establish identity on the battlefield. Today they are used to denote many different things. Ever wondered about the different symbols in Morocco’s coat of arms?

Formally known as the heraldic achievement, coats of arms were highly popular in Medieval times. These were unique designs and symbols on the shields or the gowns of knights, and they served as a form of identification on the battlefield and on tournaments.

In Medieval times, a knight’s battle gear was so prestigious and was used to showcase the knight’s achievements. Over time coat of arms evolved to become a symbol of status and nobility and provided commentary on one’s family history, social standing, property, alliance, occupation…etc.

Coats of arms are still widely used today by countries, public and private institutions as well as by individuals.

The Moroccan coat of arms was officially adopted in 1957, and it’s the official coat of arms of the Moroccan monarch, currently King Mohamed VI. It was designed by the French artists J. Hainaut and Suzanne Gautier. The coat consists of several parts, and I took the liberty of unlocking the meaning of each one of these parts for you. Enjoy!

The shield

The shield, also known as the escutcheon, is the focal point of any coat of arms. The shield takes many distinctive shapes and these varied from region to region and over time.

The shield is a central element in Morocco’s coat of arms, too. The shape of the shield in Morocco’s coat of arms was commonly used by the French and the British during Medieval times.

The mantle

The mantle is usually seen as a depiction of the protective cloth worn by knights from their helmets. This piece of cloth was first worn by the Crusaders to prevent the helmets from heating up in the sun, but also to decrease the effects of the sword blow to the helmet. In the coat of arms, the mantle is also often depicted as leaves of a plant.

The design of the mantle is purely a matter of the artist’s preference. Its role in the coat of arms is usually purely decorative. However, when specified, the colours of the mantle signify different things. The golden/yellow colour of the mantle in Morocco’s coat of arms is traditionally used to mean virtue, generosity and the elevation of both mind and soul.

The star

Inside the shield is the area known as the field, and this is usually filled with ‘charges’ or figures. These figures are usually symbolic and have an important significance.

One of the figures inside the field in Morocco’s coat of arms is the pentacle. The five-pointed and linear star, also known as Solomon’s seal, is the signet ring attributed to King Solomon in Abrahamic religions. The green colour of the pentacle is one of the traditional colours of Islam, and it is used in many cultures to represents love, joy and hope.

The mountains

The other figure in Morocco’s coat of arms is the range of mountains which represent the Moroccan range of the Atlas Mountains. The green, the gold, and silver colours are said to represent the richness of this mountain range at the heart of Morocco and the richness of the country.

The sun

The sun is an emblem of brightness and splendour. It symbolises the promise of rebirth, wisdom, good judgement and willpower. The sun is a source of light, a fountain of life and denotes the ultimate wholeness of humanity.

The sunrise at the centre of the shield frame in Morocco’s coat of arms is a representation Morocco’s rebirth and flowering as a great nation.

The red colour

The main field inside the shield is coloured in red. By now we have established that there is much symbolism associated with colour in coat of arms. The red colour in Morocco’s coat of arms means the same as the red colour in the country’s flag. It signifies hardiness, bravery, and military strength.

The lions

On either side of the shield are the supporters. These supporters usually have a local and cultural relevance.

Supporting the shield on each side are two lions representing the Atlas lions. The Atlas lion has always been used as an emblem of majesty, strength, and justice, military might and deathless courage. They serve as the holder of the shield and protectors of the crown.

The crown

On top of the shield is the crest. The crest in Morocco’s coat of arms is the royal crown of Morocco representing the king and his civil authority.

The motto

The golden ribbon under the shield in Morocco’s coat of arms contains the motto: ‘In Tançuron Allah Iançurkum’ (If you help Allah, He will help you). The extract is a part of Surah 47 verse 7 of the Qu’ran: “O you who believe! If you help Allah, He will help you and will make your foothold firm”.

The use of the verse here surely completes the three elements in the countries official motto which are all represented in its coat of arms: ‘Allah, Al Watan, Al Malik’ (God, Nation, King).

How do you like the symbols of Morocco’s coat of arms? Do you agree that they fully portray the real identity of Morocco?

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