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), with examples dating to the 15th Century; it’s found in the 17th Century Mon of Inoue [Xavid Pretzer, O-umajirushi: A 17th Century Compendium of Samurai Heraldry, p.218; cf. Hawley 79].  The motif is formed of four laths fretted; period examples show the laths either fretted as on a delf, or as on a mascle.  The latter is the Society default.  As the Japanese well-frame could also be blazoned in Western European terms, it is not a step from period practice.

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 .

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 .

Stream

Stream in base (Period)

Stream in base (Period)

A stream is a small river or current of water, drawn in a naturalistic style.  In medieval armory, streams are usually found in combination with other charges, such as a bridge; but they are also found as charges in their own right, as in the arms of da Cabrin, mid-15th C. [Triv 109].  The period examples of streams tend to show them in base and throughout, but nonetheless that doesn’t seem to be a default; it is best to be explicit.  The illustration shows a stream fesswise throughout in base.

There are also examples of ordinaries wavy (e.g., the bend wavy in the arms of von Büren, 1605 [Siebmacher 167]) which have been diapered to represent running streams.  The diapering in these cases is considered artistic, worth no difference, but the intent is clear:  indeed, the canting arms of Sardinha, c.1540 [Nobreza xxxv°], even charges a bend wavy, diapered as a stream, with a strewing of sardines, to make clear the watery nature of the charge.

Japanese stream (Disallowed)

Japanese stream (Disallowed)

A highly stylized depiction of a stream is found in Japanese Mon, as borne by Okamoto [Hawley 26]; it might be blazoned, awkwardly, as “barrulets bevilled arrondi”.  The difficulty of accurately blazoning it in European heraldic terms makes the Japanese stream unregisterable in Society armory.  For related charges, see base (ford), wave.

Ishiyama Namban Tadashi bears:  Argent, in chief a barrulet gemel bevilled arrondi and issuant from base a wave reversed sable.

Grímr Víthfari bears:  Or, atop a bridge of three arches throughout a tower, the streams transfluent gules.

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

Rock; Stone

Rock (Period)

Rock (Period)

A rock is an irregular mass of stone; it is also called a “stone”, though that usually implies a smaller mass.  When used as an independent charge, the rock is drawn lumpishly to distinguish it from a roundel.  Rocks are found in the canting arms of Pedrosa, c.1540 [Nobreza xvi].  When issuant from base, a rock becomes essentially a rocky mount.

 

A specific type of rock is the “flint”, used for striking sparks against a furison to start fires.  It was used as one of the badges of the Order of the Golden Fleece, 1430 [Friar 170; Volborth 216].  The flint is depicted as a rock with spurts of flame issuant from the sides, sometimes radiating across the field.

 

Millstone (Period)

Millstone (Period)

Period armory gives us the “millstone”:  a large circular stone, turned by water power, used for grinding grain.  It forms the base of the mill; it’s rendered essentially as a diapered roundel, frequently charged with a millrind.  The millstone is a period charge, found in the arms of Spiser, c.1340 [Zurich 253].

 

Rocks come in many materials – basalt, marble, sandstone – so, strictly speaking, they have no “proper” coloration.  Nonetheless, there are a few instances of “rock proper” or “stone proper” in Society blazonry; these assume the rock is grey granite, and are treated as if they were argent.

See also dolmen (menhir), grindstone.

Hallmundr Grimsson bears:  Barry wavy azure and argent, a stone sable.

Piers Howells de Cambria bears:  Azure, an owl reguardant Or perched atop a rock issuant from base argent.

Juliana Neuneker Hirsch von Schutzhundheim bears:  Sable, a flint between four furisons in saltire, steels to center Or.

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

Pavilion

Pavilion (Period)

Pavilion (Period)

A pavilion is a sumptuous tent, used for shelter at medieval tournaments.  As an heraldic charge, it dates at least from 1465, in the arms of the Worshipful Company of Upholders [Bromley & Child 249]; it is also called a “sperver”, or simply a “tent”.  The pavilion is usually drawn with a circular floor plan and a conical roof, as in the illustration; sometimes the roof is onion-domed.  The door flaps face the viewer by default, and are tied back to reveal the interior.  Larger tents, with two poles, are also found, as in the arms of von Hütte zu Heuspach, 1605 [Siebmacher 93]; such variant forms are blazoned explicitly.

 

 

Mongolian yurt (SFPP)

Mongolian yurt (SFPP)

The category includes such Society innovations as the “Mongolian yurt”, a form of tent consisting of skins or felt on a framework of poles.  As a non-European artifact, its use in Society armory is considered a step from period practice.  See also edifice.

Katherine of Adiantum bears:  Ermine, a pavilion gules.

Richild la Gauchere bears:  Or, five pavilions in saltire vert.

Ah Kum of the Ger-Igren bears:  Per fess argent and vert, a Mongolian yurt azure.

This entry was posted on May 23, 2014, in .

Nest

Dove reguardant atop a nest (Period)

Dove reguardant atop a nest (Period)

A nest is a roost for birds, consisting of a shallow bowl woven of wooden twigs; its “proper” tincture is therefore brown.  It’s never found in period heraldry except when a bird is sitting in it, as in the crest of Nobrega, c.1540 [Nobreza xxº].  The illustration shows a dove reguardant sitting in a nest.  See also birdcage.

The Order of the Cygnets Nest, of Meridies, bears:  A swan sitting in a nest proper within and issuant from an annulet argent.

Danamas of Starlinghurst bears:  Azure, atop a demi-wall issuant from dexter base, a starling contourny argent perched in a nest Or.

This entry was posted on May 23, 2014, in .

Mount; Mountain

Mount (Period)

Mount (Period)

Trimount, or mount of three hillocks (Period)

Trimount, or mount of three hillocks (Period)

A mount is the heraldic representation of a hill.  It’s drawn as a rounded hillock issuant from base; it’s equivalent to a “base enarched to chief”.  The mount is sometimes drawn naturalistically, with tufts of grass; Society heraldry considers this artistic license, and it’s often ignored in Society emblazons.  A “mount proper” is vert, and some texts claim that mounts are vert by default; but they have no default coloration in Society heraldry.

If the mount is not issuant from base, but cut off at the bottom, it must be blazoned “couped”.  The mount may also have more than a single hillock, especially in Italian heraldry:  three, six, or ten hillocks are possible, and would be blazoned, e.g., “a mount of three hillocks” (or “coupeaux”, or “peaks”), as in the illustration.  (The mount of three hillocks may also be termed simply a “trimount”.)  The multi-hilled form of mount dates from at least 1413, in the arms of the Kings of Hungary [Conz.Const. xcix].

Mountain (Period)

Mountain (Period)

A variant of a mount is the “mountain”, representing a mountain instead of a hill.  The mountain is usually drawn more naturalistically, with rocky crags and a peak; the exact details are not blazoned.  It too is period, in the canting arms of di Monti da Cara, mid-15th C. [Triv 235].  Like the mount, it is issuant from base unless otherwise specified.

Multiple mountains may be conjoined to form a “mountain range”, as in the canting arms of Siebenbürger, 1605 [Siebmacher 46].  The period example requires a long, narrow area for displaying the range; the mountains issue from the lower edge by default.  The number of mountains in the range need not be specified.

The mount should not be confused with the “mound”, which is another name for the orb.  For related charges, see base, point, rock.

The Prince of the Summits bears:  Azure, a gryphon passant and on a mountain argent, a goblet azure within a laurel wreath vert.

William de Montegilt bears:  Sable, a two-peaked mountain couped Or, capped argent.

Morna ó Monadh bears as a badge:  Purpure, a mount of three hillocks Or.

Jan Rafiel Shkoder bears:  Vert, a mount of six hillocks between two falcon’s heads erased Or.

Alys de Montcharmont bears:  Azure mullety, on a bend argent a mountain range vert.

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

Gurges

Gurges (ancient) (Period)

Gurges (ancient) (Period)

Gurges (Tudor) (Period)

Gurges (Tudor) (Period)

A gurges is the heraldic representation of a whirlpool, by which name it is sometimes blazoned.  It is found in the canting arms of Gorges, c.1255 [Asp2 152].  In its original form, the gurges was drawn as a series of concentric annulets, typically around four in number; with the outer rings often intersecting the edges of the shield.  At the end of our period, possibly as a result of misdrawing, it began to be drawn as a spiraling line from the center to the edge of the shield; this is the form found in most modern heraldry texts.  (The illustrations both show a dark gurges on a white field.)  The forms are considered interchangeable, and both are permitted in Society armory.

Despite some early Society misblazons, the gurges is a charge.  Barring period examples, surmounting a gurges with an overall charge is considered a step from period practice. For related charges, see schnecke.

Damian d’Outremer bears:  Sable, a gurges Or.

Gregory of Glencairn bears:  Vert, a cross engrailed argent, overall a gurges Or.

Geoffrey de Rennes bears as a badge:  Or, a whirlpool rayonny vert.

This entry was posted on January 31, 2014, in .

Beacon

Beacon (Period)

Beacon (Period)

A beacon is a signal tower, consisting of a pole with a fire-basket at the top, and a ladder on one side for those who feed the fire.  It is always drawn flammant, but the fact is often explicitly blazoned.  The beacon is found in the arms of Daunt, c.1510 [DBA1 106], but it’s better known as one of the badges of Henry V, d.1422 [HB 110].  See also brazier, lighthouse, torch (cresset).

The Riding of Beaconsgate bears:  Azure, a beacon within a laurel wreath Or.

Valdemar Wendel Bayard bears:  Per pale sable and gules, a beacon enflamed Or.

Wenyeva atte grene bears:  Per chevron argent and vert, three beacons enflamed counterchanged.

This entry was posted on November 27, 2013, in .