NYS Coat of Arms

The NYS Coat of Arms

NYS Coat of Arms
Liberty...................... Justice
(Enlarge this image)

The arms of New York State were officially adopted in 1778. The center shows a ship and sloop on a river bordered by a grassy shore and a mountain range with the sun rising behind it. Liberty and Justice stand on either side, under an American eagle.

Liberty holds a staff topped with a Phrygian cap, symbolic of the cap given to a Roman slave upon the formal act of emancipation and freedom. This cap was adopted by French revolutionists as a symbol of liberty, especially in the U.S. before 1800.

The figure of Justice is blindfolded and carries a sword in one hand and scales in the other.

These symbols represent the impartiality and fairness required for the assignment of a merited reward or punishment.The banner shows the State motto--Excelsior--which means "Ever Upward."

The following description of the Coat of Arms is provided for those who may be unfamiliar with heraldic terms:

Shield: A blue, unclouded sky with the golden sun and its rays centered behind a range of three mountains, the middle one the highest; below, a ship and sloop under sail, facing each other and about to meet on a river, bordered by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs, all in natural colors.

Crest: (above the shield) On a wreath of blue and gold, an American eagle in its natural colors, facing toward the right (considered a good omen) above a two-thirds global drawing of Earth, showing the north Atlantic Ocean with outlines of its shores.

Supporters: (the two figures on the outside of the shield) appear to be joined with the shield as a unit formed by the extension of the scroll.

Dexter: (To the left of the viewer's eye) The figure of Liberty in natural colors, her unbound hair decorated with pearls. She is clothed in blue with red sandals, a loose robe of red hanging down from her shoulders to her feet. In her right hand, she holds a staff topped with a gold Phrygian cap; her left arm is bent at the elbow, the hand supporting the shield at its top right. A royal crown lies at her left foot, thrown down to illustrate the lessening of power of the English monarchy.

Sinister: (To the right of the viewer's eye) The figure of Justice in natural colors, her unbound hair decorated with pearls. She is clothed in gold with a blue belt fringed in red, wearing sandals and a robe as Liberty and bound about the eyes with a narrow band of cloth. In her right hand she holds a gold handled sword, held erect, and resting on the top left point of the shield; left arm is also bent at the elbow, holding scales in front of her.

Motto: On a silver scroll below the shield, in black type, the word "Excelsior" (Ever Upward).

(Loosely extracted from State Law, Article 6)

Copyright (c) 2008 New York State Department of State