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Burma Pyi-Daung-Zu Myanma Nainggan

Last modified: 2010-02-27 by ian macdonald
Keywords: star white | cogwheel | rice | industry | agriculture |
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[Flag of Myanmar] 5:9 | 2:3 | 6:11, Željko Heimer

Flag adopted 27 December 1973 (constitution date: 3 January 1974), coat of arms adopted 1974.

A red flag with a blue canton and a white emblem in it. The emblem consists of a cog wheel and a paddy ear surrounded with 14 five-pointed stars. Most vexillological sources give the ratio as 5:9 if I am not mistaken. Some show a 2:3 ratio (e.g., Crampton (1990f) or 6:11. I think that the ratio is not prescribed. In any case, it seems that the canton is somewhat higher than half the hoist, whereas the length is less than half the fly. I doubt that there are official specifications.
Željko Heimer, 30 June 2002

The Myanmar flag is displayed with fair frequency by the government, particularly around major intersections of larger towns. Myanmar flags can be seen flying over private establishments, but it's somewhat rare. Cost is not a factor though. Virtually all the flags I saw in Myanmar were made of broad cloth with the canton being printed. However, some of these flags were rather large. In Yangon, I saw 2 flags measuring roughly 8 x 12 ft.
Clay Moss, 7 July 2001

See also:

2:3 and 6:11 Variants of the National Flag

[Flag of Myanmar] 2:3, Željko Heimer

[Flag of Myanmar] 6:11, Željko Heimer

Meaning of the flag

The flag was adopted on 3 January 1974, the year when Burma became the Socialist Republic of the Burmese Federation. Since then the state has changed its name, but not its flag. The fourteen stars are for 14 states, the cog wheel and rice are for industry and agriculture.
Željko Heimer, 24 February 1996


The State Flag is rectangular in shape and its background colour is red with a dark blue canton at the top left corner. A pinion and ears of paddy encircled with fourteen white stars of equal size have been superimposed on the dark blue field of the canton. The center of the pinion coincides with the center of the blue canton. The pinion has fourteen cogs of equal size and within it are two ears of paddy consisting of 34 grains. At the top of each cog of the pinion is a star with five vertices. Of the three colours of the flag, red signifies courage and decisiveness, white signifies purity and virtue and dark blue signifies peace and integrity.
contributed by Dov Gutterman, 7 March 1999

Section 215 of the 1947 Constitution prescribed, "The National Flag shall be rectangular in shape and red in colour with a canton of dark blue. In the canton shall be a five-pointed large white star with five smaller stars between the points. One of the five points of each star, large or small, shall direct upwards. The dimensions of the Flag shall be nine feet by five feet, and the canton shall be four feet by two and a half feet. The size of the large star shall be such that a circle drawn through the five points shall have a diameter of 18 inches and the smaller stars nine inches. National Flag of other sizes shall conform as nearly as possible to the above proportions." Unlike the 1947 Constitution, the Article 190 of the 1974 Constitution prescribed, "The State Flag shall be as shown below" together with the picture of the State Flag. 
Željko Heimer, 19 January 2007

Significant Dates

4 January 1974. New flag and new constitution ('Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma')
26 September 1988. New country name ('Union of Burma'), no flag change.
19 June 1989. New country name ('Union of Myanma', or 'Mynamar'), no flag change.
Ivan Sache, 28 January 2001

The flag (in its present form) was established by Decree No. 109 of the Revolutionary Council, published in the Rangoon Guardian of 27 December 1973.
Christopher Southworth, 8 April 2005

The current national emblem was officially adopted on 3rd January 1974 in accordance with Article 191/192 of the constitution of the Union of Myanmar which was adopted by the national referendum conducted in the previous year. However on 18 September 1988 the state law and order restoration council took over the responsibilities of the state. The previous Socialist system ceased to exist when the new government adopted a new policy towards establishing a multiparty democratic system along with a market-oriented economic policy. Therefore the Myanmar word meaning "socialist republic" was deleted from the emblem. Except for that minor alteration the other features of the state emblem remain unchanged.
Received from the Myanmar Embassy to Japan by Nozomi Kariyasu, 16 April 1999


The illustration in Chapter XIV, Article 190 of the Constitution of 4 January 1974 (and accompanying text) shows a hitherto unknown ratio of 5:8, with a canton in proportions of 4:5 occupying 55% of the flag's width. If this were not enough, the list of colours gives the "rice stalk" as "yellow"? The drawing of this rice stalk, of the cog wheel and of the stars is far too crude (and indeed uneven) for specification purposes, but in approximate figures and assuming a flag of 240 x 384 units the hoist would read 132-108 and the length 165-219, the complete emblem is contained within an imaginary circle of diameter equaling 128 units with each star at 13.5 units, the outer rim of the cogwheel at 93 units and the inner blue circle at 58 units diameter.

A quick look at the various official websites of Myanmar, appears to confirm that the flag as currently flown has a ratio of 5:9, that the canton is one-half the width of the flag and in proportions of 5:8, and that the emblem occupies some 88 - 90% the width of the canton. Whether this reflects the Decree of 1973 or some later
legislation is a matter of conjecture.
Christopher Southworth, 8 April 2005

Chapter XIV, Article 190 of the Constitution dated 4 January 1974 gives details of the illustration attached which differs from the official images usually seen. I can now confirm that the proportions of 5:9 with a canton occupying half the width of the flag and in a ratio of 5:8 is as laid down for the previous design (with a canton consisting of six stars) by Section 215 of the 1947 Constitution which stated that "The dimensions of the Flag shall be nine feet by five feet, and the canton shall be four feet by two and a half feet".
Christopher Southworth
, 19 January 2007

National Emblem

From:, the image of the seal:

The distinguishing features of the State Seal are as follows:-

a) At the center of the State Seal is a pinion with fourteen equal-sized cogs on which the map of Myanmar is superimposed. The pinion and the map are encircled with two ears of paddy.

b) The ears of paddy are flanked on each side by an artistic Myanmar Lion. The lion on the right side faces towards the right and the one on the left side faces towards the left.

c) The words "The Union of Myanmar" are inscribed in Myanmar below the lions and the ears of paddy.

d) At the top of the State Seal is a star with five vertices.

e) Myanmar floral designs are etched on either side of the ears of paddy and the star.
contributed by Dov Gutterman, 7 March 1999

President's Flag

[Myanmar President's flag] by Martin Grieve

Petersen (1971) shows an orange flag with a peacock as the president's flag.
Michael Smuda, 22 October 2001

Crampton (1990) shows a very similar flag and says: "The flag of the President (1948-62) was orange with a peacock in the centre."  However, Barraclough
still showed the orange flag with the peacock, while Barraclough and Compton (1981) says: "Prior to 1974 there was a flag for the President, but it is
uncertain if this still is in use".
Mark Sensen, 22 October 2001

Pedersen (1970) reported "The flag shows Burma's national symbol, the peacock, which was used from about 1800 as a Royal Beast by the last King of Burma."
Ivan Sache, 2 May 2002

Evans (1959), Carr (1961), Kannik (1959) all imply this flag was in use since 1948.
Jarig Bakker, 17 September 2002

Rangoon Port Commissioner

[Rangoon Port Commissioner] by Blas Delgado Ortiz

The flags of the Port Commissioners at Rangoon and Calcutta were defaced Red Ensigns. I have assumed that they went out of use in about 1927 because they were in the 1916 Admiralty Flag Book, referred to in a general amendment about white discs in 1925, but omitted from the 1930 Admiralty Flag Book. The only thing that I know of, that indicates that they continued in use after about 1927, is their inclusion in the 1939 Flaggenbuch. This raises some doubts, but not enough, I think, to invalidate the assumption that they went out of use in about 1927?
David Prothero, 20 December 2009