NY State Emblems

Three emblems that represent New York State are the Device of Arms (commonly referred to as the coat of arms), the Great Seal and the State Flag. All three emblems incorporate the image of the Coat of Arms.

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,” and E pluribus unum—which means “Out of many one.” E pluribus unum was added as part of FY 2021 Enacted Budget.

NYS Coat of Arms
The Great Seal of the State of New York
New York State Flag
The New York State Flag

*The Great Seal is provided here for educational purposes only. State law restricts reproduction of the Great Seal for other purposes. It may not be reproduced without the express permission of the Department of State. Its use is prescribed by statute and is limited to specific purposes.

Copyright (c) 2008 New York State Department of State