A New Model
Born out of the need to authenticate the origin of a public document and to identify the authority or ownership of an object, the Seal dates back to antiquity. The sigillography (from the Latin “Sigillum” which means “seal"), a branch of sciences of history associated with heraldry, is the science dealing with seals. The word “seal” embodies two meanings. First, it describes the instrument used to print a mark on an object. Secondly, it refers to the mark left by the instrument itself.Senegal is a Republic with the particularity of having two Seals:
The Seal of the Passing Lion
This Seal is reserved exclusively for the President of the Republic and designed to emboss important documents of the State such as treaties.
The Seal of the Baobab
This is the Seal used for certifying public administration documents.
The Order No 60-26 of October 10, 1960 stipulates in its Article 2:“The seals, stamps, and tablets of high-level institutions of State, Ministers, courts and tribunals, notaries, and any public institution or authority shall bear the Baobab as it appears on the Seal of the State, with the legend “Republic of Senegal” and the stamp of the public institution or authority to which they are intended.”
On one of the Seals appears a passing lion and, on the upper right corner, a five-pointed star. The lion is also an emblem widely used in the symbolism of the Northern Sudanese ethnic group, to which most of Sudanese belong. The lion was, before the French presence, the symbol of power.
The King was then a Lion King, Sun God; now it is the totem animal of the Senegalese State.
No other animal could better represent the Senegalese people, whose cardinal virtues are courage and loyalty. On the edge of the first Seal, we can read:
“REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL – ONE PEOPLE – ONE PURPOSE – ONE FAITH”
On the second Seal, we can see a baobab. Why the baobab? First, because the baobab is a typical tree of Senegalese wildlife. A group of hundred-year-old baobabs usually marks the location of an ancient village. Furthermore, the baobab is one of the trees from which farmers take the most resources.
Its fruit, called monkey bread, is used to cook porridge; its leaves, once crushed, are an ingredient in couscous; and one can make strong ropes out of its trunk. The edge of this second Seal bears the words:
“REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL – IN THE NAME OF THE SENEGALESE PEOPLE
The Seal of the Baobab is the common seal of all the institutions of the Republic.
The National Police has adopted the Baobab as a particular symbol. Thus, we can find the baobab on the Police distinctive signs (badges, shoulder-pieces, logos, etc.).