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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Emblems & Symbols > Indiana State Seal Indiana State Seal

Indiana Code: IC 1-2-4-1
Sec. 1. The official seal for the state of Indiana shall be described as follows:
A perfect circle, two and five eighths (2 5/8) inches in diameter, inclosed by a plain line. Another circle within the first, two and three eighths (2 3/8) inches in diameter inclosed by a beaded line, leaving a margin of one quarter (1/4) of an inch. In the top half of this margin are the words "Seal of the State of Indiana".

At the bottom center, 1816, flanked on either side by a diamond, with two (2) dots and a leaf of the tulip tree (liriodendron tulipifera), at both ends of the diamond. The inner circle has two (2) trees in the left background, three (3) hills in the center background with nearly a full sun setting behind and between the first and second hill from the left.

There are fourteen (14) rays from the sun, starting with two (2) short ones on the left, the third being longer and then alternating, short and long. There are two (2) sycamore trees on the right, the larger one being nearer the center and having a notch cut nearly half way through, from the left side, a short distance above the ground. The woodsman is wearing a hat and holding his ax nearly perpendicular on his right. The ax blade is turned away from him and is even with his hat.

The buffalo is in the foreground, facing to the left of front. His tail is up, front feet on the ground with back feet in the air, as he jumps over a log.

The ground has shoots of blue grass, in the area of the buffalo and woodsman.
(Formerly: Acts 1963, c.207, s.1.)

Versions of this pioneer scene have been used on Indiana seals since territorial days. They are found on official papers as early as 1801. A seal was provided for in both the 1816 and 1851 state constitutions. The 1963 General Assembly gave legal sanction to this design and provided an official description (IC 1-2-4). The elements are a woodsman, buffalo, sycamore trees, hills and a setting sun; leaves of the state tree are in the border design.

Indiana's State Seal—An Overview

The story of the Indiana Seal is long and interesting. Aside from the general meaning of the seal’s symbolism, the question of whether the sun in the seal is setting or rising has occasioned the most comment. This Overview provides the official sources in tracking the seal’s history. It also provides commentary from various general histories, newspapers, and other publications...