|Confederate 1st National (Stars & Bars) Bible flag, made from hand-sewn silk with stars that are embroidered in silk floss. There are 13 of these, 12 of which were placed in a wreath and were made in six-armed, wheel spoke fashion. These surround an unusual, six-pointed center star that is shaped like the Star of David around the perimeter and is divided into wedged sections on the interior.
The flag�s most unusual feature, however, is its layout of bars, which appear in white-red-white instead of the proper red-white-red. I have not before had a Stars & Bars with this reversal of colors. Mistakes like this are highly desired because they set the example apart from others.
The combination of these two features makes for an extraordinarily fine example.
Bible flags are a category unto themselves. They are tiny, hand-made flags, made by a loved one for a soldier as tokens of pride and affection, given when he left for war in the 19th century. They might also be made for some other special occasion, such as St. Valentine's Day, sent with a letter to a soldier already in the field. The soldier typically carried such a flag in his Bible, both because this was the safest place to keep it among his few possessions.
Bible flags come in all shapes and sizes, and with every star configuration imaginable, but most are small enough to fit in a small Bible, such as a soldier might carry, without folding. Some, like this example, had tassels that aided in its natural use as a bookmark. Most often they were small enough to fit in a Civil War cover (a small, 19th century envelope used for correspondence) and were sometimes sent to soldiers in the field.
Bible flags were most often made of ladies dress silk or dress ribbon, like this example, which is one of the ways a Bible flag can, at least in theory, be distinguished from a hand-made parade flag. A woman might use new fabric, of course, but if the maker was a girlfriend of fianc�e, as opposed to a mother or sister, she might then use fabric from her own dress a way to further personalize the flag. Further, the dress might be one she wore on some special occasion of significance to the couple.
The count of 13 stars represents the 11 official Confederate States plus the two most active Border States, Missouri and Kentucky. The populations of these two states voted for secession, but their respective state governments didn�t ratify the decision, so each ended up with two separate governments, one Union and one Confederate.
Mounting: The gilded molding dates to the period between 1820 and 1840. This is a pressure mount between 100% cotton velvet and U.V. protective acrylic. The black fabric has been washed and treated to reduce and set the dye.
Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
|Phone: (717) 502-1281
|19th Century (1801-1900)
|The numeral 1775 was written on the reverse of the last white bar in black ink. A light bleed of it shows through the front. The number could have been a supposed (and most incorrect) date or it could have been some sort of collection inventory code.
|Frame: 6" x 7.5" Flag: 2" x 3"
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