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Wolf

Wolf rampant (Period)

Wolf rampant (Period)

The wolf is a predatory canine beast, whose medieval reputation was one of rapacity and strength.  It was a common charge in medieval armory, called a “leu” or “loup” in early blazons, and found as early as c.1275 in the canting arms of Lou [ANA2 109].  The wolf does not seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows a wolf rampant.

A “wolf ululant” has its head raised, howling or baying.  The term is unique to Society heraldry; the motif is considered a step from period practice.  For related charges, see dog, fox, hyena, werewolf.

The Prince of Oertha bears:  Azure, a wolf sejant, head erect, in chief two compass stars and on a base argent a laurel wreath azure.

Conall Mac Earnáin bears:  Argent, three wolves rampant sable.

Philip Dyemoke bears:  Potent, a wolf rampant sable.

This entry was posted on June 8, 2014, in .

Tyger

Tyger rampant (Period)

Tyger rampant (Period)

Bengal tiger rampant (SFPP)

Bengal tiger rampant (SFPP)

The tyger is an heraldic monster, described as incredibly swift and deceitful; its body is much like that of the wolf, but it has a crest of tufts on the back of its neck, and a tusk pointing down from its nose.  Medieval legend asserts that to escape a pursuing tyger, one must throw a mirror before it, so that it will be entranced by its reflection; indeed, the tyger in the arms of Sybell, 1531, is in just such a pose [Dennys 144].  The illustration shows a tyger rampant.

When blazoned a “natural tiger” or “Bengal tiger”, the term denotes a natural beast, the great cat Felis tigris:  like a maneless lion, but with stripes on its coat.  When blazoned “proper”, its coat is tawny, and the stripes black; this naturalistic coloring is no longer permitted in Society armory, but standard heraldic tinctures (e.g., “a Bengal tiger Or marked sable”) may still be used.  The use of a Bengal tiger is considered a step from period practice.  The illustration shows a Bengal tiger rampant.

The King of the East bears as a badge:  A tyger passant azure.

Alia la rousse bears:  Gules, in pale two tygers passant argent.

Sean Fitzwallace bears:  Gules, a Bengal tiger rampant guardant proper within a bordure counter-compony argent and azure.

This entry was posted on June 5, 2014, in .

Squirrel

Squirrel (Period)

Squirrel maintaining a nut (Period)

The squirrel is a small tree-dwelling beast of the rodent family, whose medieval reputation was of diligence and, oddly, anger.  It is a period charge, found in the arms of Hadlaub, c.1340 [Zurich 478].

The squirrel is sejant erect by default.  In that posture, it’s often drawn maintaining a nut between its forepaws, even when not specifically blazoned (though it frequently is).

Regana van Kortrijk bears:  Azure, a squirrel argent.

Peregrine Fairchylde bears:  Vair, a squirrel rampant gules.

Joscelin le esqurel bears:  Sable, in pale three squirrels courant Or.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .

Sheep

Ram rampant (Period)

Ram rampant (Period)

Paschal lamb passant reguardant (Period)

Paschal lamb passant reguardant (Period)

The sheep is a wooly, grazing beast famed for its placidity, yea, stupidity.  It’s found in the arms of Schafli, c.1340 [Zurich 389].

The category includes the “ram”, the male sheep, a symbol of virility, distinguished by his spiral horns, found in the canting arms of Ramsberg c.1370 [Gelre 40]; and the “lamb”, the young sheep, a symbol of meek innocence, found in the canting arms (Latin agnus) of Agnis, 1286 [DBA1 295].  Ovines are often found statant or rampant, but there doesn’t seem to be a default posture common to all; but in general, rams are more often rampant, and sheep more often statant.  The illustration shows a ram rampant.

There is also the “Paschal lamb”, a reference to the Lamb of God:  he bears a banner over his shoulder, and is passant by default.  (He is often shown reguardant as well, as in the illustration, but that fact is always blazoned.)  When blazoned “proper”, the Paschal lamb is argent, haloed Or (sometimes with a red cross on the halo), and his banner is argent with a red cross.  It’s found as an heraldic charge as early as 1304, in the arms of Barbitonsor [DBA1 205].

The Society currently grants difference between sheep and goats.  For related charges, see fleece, goat, musimon.  See also vegetable lamb.

The King of Gleann Abhann bears:  Per pale gules and sable, a ram rampant within a laurel wreath, in chief a coronet argent.

Ælfhelm se Reade bears:  Vert, three sheep statant argent.

Robert MacNair bears:  Erminois, three rams rampant sable.

Karl Skarpi bears:  Gules, a Paschal lamb passant proper between three crosses crosslet Or.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .

Sea-lion

Sea-lion (Period)

Sea-lion (Period)

Natural sea-lion (seal) sejant (Accepted)

Natural sea-lion (seal) sejant (Accepted)

The sea-lion is an heraldic sea-monster, with the foreparts of a lion and the tail of a fish; it is also sometimes blazoned a “morse”, especially for canting purposes.  It’s found in the attributed arms of “King Palaeologus”, c.1282 [ANA2 493]; in true heraldry, in the arms of Imhof, 1605 [Siebmacher 206].

Period depictions may show the sea-lion with a lion’s clawed forepaws, or with webs between the toes; either form is correct.  (The latter is more often found in English emblazons.)  There may also be a webbed dorsal fin; this too is artistic license.  The sea-lion is erect (rampant) by default, as in the illustration; it may also be found with its tail reflexed over its head, particularly in German armory.  The sea-lion’s “proper” tincture is with the leonine portion tawny brown and the piscine portion green.

The modified term “natural sea-lion” refers to the pinniped beast, more often termed a “seal”; the two beasts are heraldically indistinguishable, so the latter term is preferred in blazon.  No period heraldic examples of pinnipeds (e.g., seals, walruses, &c) have been cited from period armory, but they are acceptable for Society use.  The seal doesn’t seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows a seal sejant.

The Baron of Lyondemere bears:  Argent, a sea-lion proper grasping a laurel wreath vert, a base engrailed azure.

Ealasaid Nic Shuibhne bears:  Quarterly gules and sable, a sea-lion Or tailed argent.

Anne of Ockham bears:  Azure, a sea lion passant, its tail reflexed over its head, within a tressure argent.

Haleric Poleskowna bears:  Per bend vert and argent, a seal sejant erect to sinister counterchanged.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros (Period)

Rhinoceros (Period)

The rhinoceros is a ponderous beast, slow to anger, and famed for its hide’s inpenetrability.  It’s a period charge, found as the crest of William Wade, 1574 [Woodcock & Robinson, Heraldry in Historic Houses of Britain, p.163], and as the crest of the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries, 1617 [Bromley & Child 1-3].  The period heraldic examples seem to be directly based on a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, 1515 – as is the illustration.  The rhinoceros is statant by default.

Stephan of Blueknoll bears:  Sable, an African rhinoceros passant to sinister Or.

Süleyman al-Hazar bears:  Vert, in pale three rhinoceroses passant argent.

Kendall Tempest bears:  Argent, a rhinoceros rampant gules.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .

Rabbit

Rabbit statant (Period)

Rabbit statant (Period)

The rabbit is a pacifistic beast, the medieval symbol of both timidity and sexual appetite.  Heraldically, the category includes the “hare”; while the hare is held to be drawn with longer ears, the two terms are usually considered interchangeable.  Other medieval terms for the beast include “coney” and “leveret” (as in the canting arms of Coningesby and Levyer, respectively).  The rabbit is found in armory as early as 1320 [DBA1 294].

Rabbits and hares are sejant by default, though in period that posture was often drawn so low as to be indistinguishable from statant; they are often found couchant or salient as well.  The illustration shows a rabbit statant.  A “rabbit (or hare) proper” is understood to be brown.

Markus Wilhelm von Reilingen bears:  Quarterly gules and azure, a rabbit sejant Or.

Donata Bonacorsi bears:  Purpure, a hare sejant argent.

Ellyn Dawndelyon d’Azay bears:  Or, a coney rampant to sinister sable.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .

Mouse

Mouse statant (Period)

Mouse statant (Period)

The mouse is a tiny verminous beast, which gnaws in darkness; it was the medieval symbol of greed and female lasciviousness.  Heraldically, the category includes the “rat”, a larger rodent with much the same medieval reputation.  Both mice and rats are found in 15th Century Italian armory:  the canting arms (from Latin sorex and Italian ratto) of da Sorexina and Ratazi, respectively [Triv 329, 312].

The “dormouse” may likewise be included here:  although not biologically related to the mouse, their bodies are sufficiently similar to warrant inclusion.  The dormouse is distinguished from the mouse by its furry tail.  It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms (Italian ghiro) of de Giramis, mid-15th C. [Triv 153].

The mouse and its cousins do not have a proper tincture, per se:  if colored brown, they must be blazoned, e.g., a “brown mouse proper”.  Neither do they have a default posture; the illustration shows a mouse statant.  See also bat.

Edgar the Unready bears:  Gules, a mouse rampant argent.

Brice le Raton bears:  Lozengy sable and argent, a rat rampant gules.

Borgunna Varsdottir bears:  Per bend sinister raguly Or and azure, a decrescent and a dormouse dormant counterchanged.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .

Mongoose

Mouse of India statant (Period)

Mouse of India statant (Period)

The mongoose is a swift beast, famed for its ability to kill venomous serpents.  It’s described in Bossewell, 1572 [III:17v] under the names “ichneumon” and “mouse of Indie”; though no actual examples of its use have been adduced, it’s nonetheless acceptable for Society use.  Strictly speaking, the ichneumon or mouse of India (also known by the charming colloquialism of “Pharaoh’s rat”) is an Egyptian beast, known to period Europeans, while the mongoose is from India, so would be a step from period practice; in practice, the two are similar enough that both are found in Society armory.

The mongoose has no default posture; the illustration shows a mongoose (or rather, a mouse of India) statant.  For related charges, see ermine.

Ginevra da Sanfidelio bears: Quarterly sable and Or, in bend sinister a juniper branch bendwise fructed and a mongoose rampant to sinister maintaining in its mouth a serpent sable.

Abu Nur Rustam ibn Abdallah bears:  Sable, a mongoose passant regardant Or maintaining a sword proper between three increscents argent.

Davud of the Middle bears:  Per fess sable and gules, a mouse of India statant erect Or and in chief two scimitars addorsed argent.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .

Mole

Mole (Period)

Mole (Period)

The mole is a burrowing beast, described as blind in medieval bestiaries; it was considered the archetype of secrecy (since it labors underground).  It was also called a “moldiwarp” [Franklyn 232].  The mole is a period charge, dating from c.1480 in the arms of Metford [DBA2 296].  From the examples in Guillim, 1632 [211], and Parker [411], it would seem that the mole’s default posture is tergiant fesswise, as in the illustration; for Society purposes, it’s probably best to be explicit.

Elizabeth Carpenter of Rye bears:  Argent, a mole tergiant descending proper within a bordure vert.

Andrew of York bears:  Barry azure and argent, a mole rampant sable.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .