Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Awesome is this?


The Coat of Arms of the Irkutsk, a city in Siberia.

The following description is from Irkutsk Wikipedia page:
The emblem of Irkutsk features an old symbol of Dauria: a Siberian tiger with a sable in his mouth. When the emblem was devised in 1690, the animal was described as a tiger ("babr", a bookish word of Persian derivation) with a sable in his mouth. This image had been used by the Yakutsk customs office from about 1642. It has its origin in a seal of the Siberia Khanate representing a sable and showcasing the fact that Siberia (or rather Yugra) was the main source of sable fur throughout the Middle Ages. (Actually, the English word "sable" is derived from the Russian "sobol").

By the mid-19th century, the word "babr" had fallen out of common usage, but it was still recorded in the Armorial of the Russian Empire. Furthermore, the tigers became extinct in this part of Siberia. In the 1870s, a high-placed French heraldist with a limited command of Russian assumed that "babr" was a misspelling of "bobr", the Russian word for "beaver", and changed the wording accordingly. This modification engendered a long dispute between the local authorities, who were so confused by the revised description that they started to depict the "babr" as a fabulous animal, half-tiger and half-beaver.


Uh, I thought it was a weasel with a dead chipmunk in it's mouth, but a half-tiger/half beaver is way more awesome.

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