Archives

Well

Open well (Period)

Open well (Period)

Covered well (SFPP)

Covered well (SFPP)

A well is a vertical shaft sunk into the earth, from which water is drawn.  It’s usually depicted as the edifice built around the hole to prevent accidents:  a short masonwork wall.  It’s commonly round, as in the arms of Pronner von Tahlhausen, 1605 [Siebmacher 98]; but there are also period examples of square wells (in the canting arms of Hadiswell, 1586 [Bedingfeld 58]) and hexagonal wells (in the canting arms of da Fontana, mid-15th C. [Triv 149]).

Some period arms depict wells (of all shapes) with a swape, or lever arm for drawing water.

In more modern heraldry, the well is depicted with a wooden cover or roof, and a cradle for a pail and rope [Franklyn 346].  This form of well was the first form registered in the Society; while still permitted, its use is now considered a step from period practice.

Neither form of well is the Society default.  The type of well must be explicitly blazoned:  either “open” or “roofless”, or “covered” or “roofed”.

Japanese well-frame (Accepted)

Japanese well-frame (Accepted)

There is also the “Japanese well-frame” or “well-curb” (igeta), used in Mon [Hawley 79], but not yet dated to period.  The motif is still permitted in Society armory; its Society default has the laths fretted as on a mascle.  For related charges, see fountain.

Jon Blackwell bears:  Argent, a covered well sable.

Alina Meraud Bryte bears:  Per fess rayonny azure and argent, an open book argent and a roofless well gules.

Gwenllian Brighid Hertewelle bears:  Vert, in pale a stag’s head cabossed Or and a roofless stone well argent.

Kameyama Kengōro bears as a badge:  Argent, the kanji shu within a Japanese well-frame sable.

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

Wave

Wave (Disallowed)

Wave (Disallowed)

Japanese great wave (Disallowed)

Japanese great wave (Disallowed)

A wave is a crest or swell on the surface of a body of water.  Two stylizations are found in Society heraldry, one Occidental and one Oriental; neither is permitted any longer, though for different reasons.

The Occidental ocean wave may be stylized as one of the single elements of the wavy-crested line of partition; or it may be drawn naturalistically, with foam and spray.  These stylizations are considered either “landscape heraldry” or intrusively modern, and are therefore disallowed.

In Japanese Mon, the nami or Great Wave employs a different stylization, as borne by Oguri [Hawley 75]; but it cannot be described using European blazonry terms.  This brings it outside the Society’s domain; it is therefore disallowed.

The Society’s default for waves changed over the years; both dexter-facing and sinister-facing waves have been called the default.  (Dexter-facing waves have been default more often, and both the illustrated waves face dexter.)  The most recent Society practice has been to blazon the wave’s orientation explicitly.  For related charges, see stream.

Genevieve du Puits bears:  Azure, a wave reversed argent and in chief a sun sable, fimbriated argent.

Ryugen Morite bears:  Sable, a Japanese dragon’s head issuant from a Great Wave reversed issuant from sinister increscentwise argent.

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

Vajhra

Three-pronged vajhra palewise (SFPP)

Three-pronged vajhra palewise (SFPP)

A vajhra is a short bar of metal or carved stone, with clawed ends; it is a Buddhist priest’s holy symbol cum weapon, and is also known as a “priest’s lightning bolt”.  The vajhra is found as a charge in Japanese Mon, as borne by Kasuga [Hawley 96], and as an artifact in period India; it has thus been accepted for Society use.

The vajhra has no Society default orientation; the number of prongs should be specified in the blazon as well.  The illustration shows a three-pronged vajhra palewise.

Evan ap Llywelyn of Caernarfon bears as a badge:  Sable, two vajhra in cross within a lotus blossom pierced argent.

Kuji Ka Onimusashi bears:  Vert, a sheaf of forked arrows inverted surmounted by a three-pronged vajhra fesswise Or.

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

Torii

Torii (SFPP)

Torii (SFPP)

A torii is an edifice, a Japanese gateway to a Shinto temple.  It consists of two uprights supporting a curved lintel, with a straight crosspiece below.  The torii is a period charge, found in the Mon of Torii Mototada, d.1600 [Hawley 95]; but as a charge from outside European armory, its use is considered a step from period practice.  For related charges, see arch, dolmen.

Shimomoto Yoshinaga bears:  Argent, three torii, tops to center, within and conjoined to an annulet sable.

Takashina Nichiro bears:  Azure, a torii gate within an orle of cinquefoils argent.

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

Tomoe

Three tomoe in annulo (SFPP)

Three tomoe in annulo (SFPP)

A tomoe is a charge unique to Japanese Mon, a comma-shaped motif intended to represent a whirlpool in water.  Tomoe are period charges, found in the Mon of Bessho Nagaharu, general and daimyo, d.1580 [Hawley 77].

The period examples of tomoe show them used in multiples, three being by far most common; always in annulo; and with no other charges in the design.  This attested pattern, as in the illustration, has been accepted for Society use.

See also gout.

Samukawa Mantarou Yukimura bears:  Argent, three tomoe in annulo azure.

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

Sword: ken

Ken blade (probable SFPP)

Ken blade (probable SFPP)

The “ken” or “ken blade” is an Oriental double-edged blade widening at the point, predating the katana; by the end of our period it was only used as part of temple regalia [Stone 349].  The ken blade is found, highly stylized, in the Mon of Hayakawa [Hawley 64], but has not yet been dated to period; as a charge from outside period Europe, its use carries a step from period practice.

Morimoto Koryu bears:  Sable, a crescent surmounted by a ken blade argent.

Otagiri Tatsuzo bears:  Sable, three ken and three dragon scales conjoined in annulo, pointing outwards, within a bordure embattled, all argent.

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

Sword: katana

Katana (SFPP)

Katana (SFPP)

The “katana” is a Japanese long sword, dating from the 14th Century [Stone 339]; it had a small round hand-guard (tsuba) and a curved single-edged blade.  We have no examples of its use in period heraldry or Mon; as an artifact from outside period Europe, use of the katana carries a step from period practice.

Tul Cyrdkatte bears:  Per pale azure and sable, a katana inverted Or surmounted by a death’s head facing to dexter argent between in fess a sun Or and a decrescent argent.

Yamaguchi Yukio Matsutaro Futoshii no Suo bears as a badge:  A katana fesswise reversed argent hilted sable.

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

Scale, dragon’s

Dragon scale (probable SFPP at least)

Dragon scale (probable SFPP at least)

A dragon’s scale (ryurin) is a stylized charge from Japanese Mon, meant to represent a portion of a dragon’s armored skin.  It’s used in the Mon of Houjou [Hawley 57], but has not yet been dated to period.  Its point is to chief by default.

Otagiri Tatsuzo bears:  Sable, three ken blades and three dragon scales conjoined in annulo, points outward, within a bordure embattled argent.

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

Lightning

Lightning bolt (SFPP); lightning flash (Disallowed)

Lightning bolt palewise (SFPP); lightning flash palewise (Disallowed)

Lightning is a huge electrical discharge common in violent weather.  It was often represented in period art as “fire from heaven”.  In Society heraldry, lightning is represented as “flashes” and “bolts”.  The distinction is made in blazonry to denote two different styles of emblazonry, one of which was common in early Society armory but is no longer permitted.

A “lightning flash” is a tapering bevilled stripe, found in modern comic books; for that reason, it’s sometimes termed (only half-jokingly) a “shazam”.  As a purely modern depiction, this form is no longer permitted in Society heraldry.

A “lightning bolt” is an embattled stripe with barbs at either end.  The depiction is period:  two lightning bolts in saltire are found in the standard emblazon of the thunderbolt [de Bara 128].  This form is still permitted in Society heraldry, though it’s considered a step from period practice when not used as part of a thunderbolt.  As it has no default, the orientation must be explicitly blazoned; the illustration shows both forms of lightning palewise.

Japanese lightning flash lozengewise (probable SFPP at least)

Japanese lightning flash lozengewise (probable SFPP at least)

Japanese Mon represent lightning (inazuma) in a distinctive stylization, as borne by Yamashina [Hawley 75], but this has not yet been dated to period.

Algarth of Mount Coruscation bears:  Per chevron azure and gules, two lightning flashes in pile argent.

Rosaline Weaver bears:  Argent, a lightning bolt palewise azure.

Phillip of Ghent bears as a badge: Sable, issuant from a single strand, double spiral Japanese lightning flash lozengewise, in chief and in base two scarpes argent.

This entry was posted on March 17, 2014, in .

Horn, helmet

Helmet horn (probable SFPP)

Helmet horn (probable SFPP)

The helmet horn (kuwagata) is a Japanese helmet crest, borne by a branch of the Tokugawa c.1600 [Hawley 64].

Nakagawa no Ienobu bears:  Sable, a kuwagata helm crest and in chief a fan inverted of five bamboo leaves within a hexagon voided argent.

This entry was posted on February 11, 2014, in .