Moor's head (heraldry)
The precise origin of the Moor's head is a subject of controversy. One theory holds that it symbolizes Peter I of Aragon and Pamplona's victory over the "Moorish" kings of the Taifa of Zaragoza in the Battle of Alcoraz. The blindfold may originally have been a headband.
Its use is first recorded in 1281, during the reign of Peter III of Aragon. The Aragonese had for a long time influence over Sardinia and Corsica, being granted the islands by the Pope, although they never really exercised formal control. From this, the Moor's head became a symbol of those islands.
Flags, seals, and emblems
This symbol is used in heraldry, vexillography, and political imagery.
Flag of Corsica
The main charge in the coat of arms in Corsica is U Moru, Corsican for "The Moor". An early version is attested in the 14th-century Gelre Armorial, where an unblindfolded Moor's head represents Corsica as a state of the Crown of Aragon. Interestingly, the Moor's head is attached to his shoulders and upper body, and he is alive and smiling. In 1736, it was used by both sides during the struggle for independence.
In 1760, General Pasquale Paoli ordered the necklace to be removed from the head and the blindfold raised. His reason, reported by his biographers, was "Les Corses veulent y voir clair. La liberté doit marcher au flambeau de la philosophie. Ne dirait-on pas que nous craignons la lumière ?" (English: "The Corsicans want to see clearly. Freedom must walk by the torch of philosophy. Won't they say that we fear the light?") Later the blindfold was changed to a headband.
The current flag of Corsica is the Bandera testa Mora, 'Flag with head of Moor'), is male rather than female, and has a regular knot at the back of the head.
Flag of Sardinia
African Unification Front
The "Maure" is the African Unification Front's flag and emblem. The head is blindfolded representing the impartiality of justice, and the knot is tied into a stylized Adinkra symbol for omnipotence (Gye Nyame).
Modern anti-racism efforts, coupled with increased African immigration to Europe and a growth of the Afro-European population, have led to controversies around ancient "Moor's head" symbols. For example, the Austrian Mohrenbrauerei was asked to remove the "Moor's head" from its bottles.
Tucher von Simmelsdorf in Antwerp
Coat of Georg Gänswein during the Papacy of Benedict XVI
Female Moor's head on the coat of arms of the district of Möhringen in Stuttgart, Germany
The flag of Sardinia
The coat of arms of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
- "Corsica (France, Traditional province)". www.crwflags.com.
- "Flag of Corsica". Traghetti Corsica EN. February 17, 2015.
- ""Moor's head" Peter aragon - Google Search". www.google.com.
- Martone, Eric (December 8, 2008). Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313344497 – via Google Books.
- "African Unification Front Flags & Emblems". Africanfront.org. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
- "Is the emblem of a Bern guild racist?". SWI swissinfo.ch.
- "Racism in a beer logo (2012)". April 25, 2016.
- "Revisiting the Symbology of Europe's Moorish Heraldry". Black Research Central. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
- "Heart of Independent Sardinia". giampiero6's Orgosolo Page. Retrieved April 22, 2005.
- "Sa Bandela de Sos Bator Moros", Sardinian Autonomous Region, retrieved April 22, 2005 which in turn cites
- B. Fois (1990). Lo stemma dei quattro mori, breve storia dell'emblema dei Sardi. (editor Carlo Delfino) Sassari.
- "The Historic Significance of the Muare", African Unification Front, retrieved April 22, 2005
- "L'Histoire d'U Moru", Extraits de l'Ouvrage: "Trois Etudes Sur Paoli", retrieved April 22, 2005
- "U Moru (English translation)", Extracts from "Trois Etudes Sur Paoli", retrieved April 22, 2005
- Media related to Moor heads in heraldry at Wikimedia Commons