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Living Arts Originals features a wide variety of articles on all types of symbols and their meanings. The types of symbols that Living Arts Originals focuses on include flowers, animals, colors, nature, color, sacred, and many more.

France Symbols

France, with its long and tumultuous history, has an understandably wide-ranging and interesting repertoire of symbols. With a history grounded in revolution, France's symbols still show a strong devotion to freedom and republicanism.

The flag of France, known commonly as the French tricolor, has a history that comes in many pieces. The association of white with France seems to stretch back to Joan of Arc, who used a white banner with lilies on it as her flag. For a long time the white field was used as the background for most French flags, and white became identified as a French color. The red and the blue came from the colors of Paris - during the French Revolution, the Paris regiment was instrumental to its progress, and their red and blue cockades became a symbol of the revolutionary zeal. White was added to the cockades to make them a truly national symbol, and when the tricolor flag was designed it used these same colors. The colors have been assigned other meanings since, ranging from the three classes of pre-revolution society (nobility, clergy, and bourgeoisie) to various saints and other religious connotations.

France is interesting in that it has two national representations, the Gallic Rooster and Marianne - one representing the cultural history and the national consciousness of France, the other the values of France as a state and a republic. The Gallic Rooster actually originated as insult against France, using the linguistic similarity between Gaul and the Latin word for rooster, gallus. However, given the bird's strong Christian symbolism - it was connected to the triumph over good over evil, the dawn over the night, and the like - eventually the French people themselves adopted the symbol. It now serves as a symbol of France's culture, people, and personal history. Marianne, in contrast, personifies France as a state, standing for the values of freedom and for the French republic. She first appeared as a 'goddess of freedom', and was used throughout France's republican periods as a symbol of the freedom inherent in a republic. Nowadays she appears frequently in state imagery, still representing the values that France holds dearest.

Interestingly, unlike most Western nations, France lacks a coat of arms, deliberately avoiding taking one on due to their connections to nobility and royalty. In the place of a coat of arms, France uses a national emblem that is generally depicted in shades of gold. It bears a shield with the initials of France on it, a laurel branch for victory, an oak branch for wisdom, and a symbol known as the 'fasces' to represent justice. Other symbols are used for official purposes, including the silhouette of Marianne against the French flag. This deliberate refusal of a coat of arms is highly unusual and a clear representation of France's dedication to true republicanism.

France's symbolic language, with its focus on freedom, revolution, and the republic, is unique and fascinating.

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