While I was visiting a friend who lives in Asturias and exploring the land of my ancestors, Galicia, I chanced upon this banner at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias (Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias or, in Asturian, Muséu de Belles Artes d’Asturies). The banner makes a pictorial reference to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, which has been the subject of numerous blog posts. This Constitution is also known as the Constitution of Cádiz or “La Pepa.” The Constitution acquired the title of “La Pepa” because it was promulgated on March 19, 1812 which on the Calendar Day of Saints is St. Joseph’s Feast Day. In Spanish, men who are named Joseph (José) are given the nickname “Pepe,” but because constitutions are referred to in the feminine, the name went from “Pepe” to “Pepa.”
In addition to the image of a nobleman holding a book, the banner also includes an image of two beasts and a ribbon bearing the words “Sistema Continemtal [sic]” or Continental System, which may refer to the Napoleonic Continental System. It is torn. Of the beasts depicted on the banner, what is particularly interesting is that their significance goes beyond that of a mere lion attacking an eagle: These are national symbols of two nations. The lion is a symbol of Spain; and the golden eagle is a symbol of France–particularly under the imperial reign of Napoleon I. This imagery is evocative of the Peninsular War (also know as the Spanish War of Independence).