The seated figure personifying the Ministry dispels the ominous clouds of crime and intrigue with the torch held aloft in her left hand.
On the arm of each chair is a sphinx, legendary riddle-solver and a symbol of Napoleon's conquest of Egypt.
On the right arm of the chair is perched the Gallic Rooster, symbol of France harking back to ancient Gaul (the Latin word for rooster is gallus) and adopted by the French revolutionaries to underscore France's pre-Christian origins.
The seated figure holds a mirror in her right hand and a serpent gazes into it: i.e., “holding the mirror up to the face of crime.”
The Napoleonic icon contains bees, which appealed to Napoleon as symbols of industry and was an image apparently popular during the Merovingian dynasty of the sixth to eight centuries A.D.; Napoleon may have favored the resonance between "bee" and "Bonaparte," while also savoring the irony that the image of the insect seemed to some to be a Bourbon fleur-de-lys turned upside down. It also features an eagle, the symbol of Roman military prowess, which was adopted for the Grande Armee’s revered and fiercely defended battle standards. At bottom appears the meritorious award of the Legion of Honor, instituted by Napoleon as First Consul in 1802.