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Zulfikar

Zulfikar (probable SFPP)

Zulfikar (probable SFPP)

The zulfikar is a charge from Islamic heraldry, representing the sword given to Ali by Mohammed (on whom be peace).  It’s depicted as a sword, whose blade is strongly forked for about half its length; the blade might be either straight or curved.  The zulfikar shown here was used on the standard of Selim I, Ottoman Sultan 1470-1520 [from the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul].

The Society’s default for the zulfikar is that of the sword:  palewise, hilt to base.

Gürcü İskender bears:  Azure crescenty argent, a zulfikar inverted Or and a gore sinister argent.

Jethro Stille bears as a badge:  Gules, between the blades of a zulfikar inverted a mullet of six points Or.

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

Weapons

Weapons are implements designed for combat or war; unlike armor, they are understood to be primarily offensive in nature.  As medieval heraldry was originally borne by the warrior class, weapons were often used as charges.

For specific entries, see:  arrow, axe, battering ram, bow, cannon, catapult, chaine shot, crossbow, fireball, flail, gun, hammer, knife, mace, pole-arm, pole-cannon, sling, spear, staff (club), sword, trident, vajhra, zulfikar.  See also quintain, quiver, scabbard.

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 .

Trident

Trident (Period)

Trident (Period)

Ukrainian trident head (Accepted)

Ukrainian trident head (Accepted)

A trident is a three-pronged spear, used by fishermen and Roman gladiators; in classical art, it was borne as a scepter by the sea-god Neptune.  Its head resembles that of a barbed fork.  The trident is a period charge, found in the arms of von Streithorst, 1605 [Siebmacher 182].  It is palewise, tines to chief, by default.

The “trident head” alone, without the haft, is also found as a charge, in the arms of von Krottendorff or Krotendorf, c.1450 [Ingeram 18; also BSB 390:854, c.1560].  It’s similar to a depiction of the “eel-spear” [Guillim1 220] or “salmon spear” [Parker 220]; but unlike those charges, the trident head, like the trident, has its tines to chief by default.

A variant form, the “Ukrainian trident (head)”, is found in the modern arms of Ukraine; tradition has made it a totem of the Rurik dynasty.  For related charges, see eel-fork, pole-arm.  See also weapons.

The Baron of Marinus bears:  Argent chaussé ployé per pale vert and azure, a trident sable its head environed of a laurel wreath vert.

Lennán mac Neill bears:  Vert, three tridents argent.

Wilhelm von Frankfurt bears:  Per bend sinister azure and purpure, a trident’s head inverted Or.

Bogdan Kobzar bears:  Per chevron azure and argent, two Ukrainian trident heads Or and a kobza sable.

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

Sword: shamshir

Shamshir (SFPP)

Shamshir (SFPP)

The “shamshir” is a curved-bladed sword intended for slashing; it was favored by the Persian cavalry in the 15th and 16th Centuries, due in part to its light weight [Stone 550].  In Society armory, it is depicted more or less as the historical artifact; a highly stylized form of it became the heraldic scimitar.  As an artifact from outside period Europe, the use of the shamshir is a step from period practice.

Haerraich the Cossack bears:  Gyronny sable and argent, on a pellet two shamshirs in saltire argent, hilted Or.

Omar Abdul ben Akbar bears:  Vert, a Turkish shamshir fesswise reversed, edge to base, distilling from its point three gouttes Or.

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

Sword: seax

Seax (Period)

Seax (Period)

The term “seax”, when used in blazon, denotes a stylized sword resembling the scimitar but with a semi-circular notch in its back.  It was attributed c.1460 to the arms of the Kings of Kent [RH]; it has more recently been used in the arms of Middlesex and Essex, presumably for the cant.

Many large knives of the Early Middle Ages, especially in England, have been termed “seaxes” by weapons historians; these do not resemble the stylized heraldic form.  In Society armory, such cases are explicitly blazoned by type, e.g., the pre-Conquest “broken-back seax”, based on an item unearthed at Sittingbourne (currently in the British Museum).

Theodric Pendar of Faulconwood bears:  Sable, upon a saltire cotised Or two seaxes in saltire sable.

Phillip of Dalarna bears:  Vert, a seax between two estoiles wavy argent.

Eadgyth æt Stæningum bears as a badge:  On a broken-back seax argent a flax stem vert flowered azure.

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

Sword: scimitar

Scimitar (Period)

Scimitar (Period)

The term “scimitar”, when used in blazon, denotes a highly stylized sword with a crescent blade; it is an exaggerated depiction of actual swords from the Middle East, e.g., the shamshir.  In its heraldic form, the scimitar is found in the arms of Chanpollo, c.1550 [BSB 272:195], and the arms of Hodgson, c.1520 [DBA4 436]; the latter were on occasion misblazoned in period as using falchions.

The term “saber” is recognized as a synonym for the scimitar [Parker 509].  It was once used in Society blazonry to denote a modern cavalry saber; this form of sword is no longer registerable.

Robert Blade bears:  Argent, a scimitar gules and a scimitar sable crossed in saltire.

Schaibar of Lorien bears:  Per fess Or and gules, a scimitar inverted bendwise sinister counterchanged.

Keradwc an Cai bears as a badge:  Sable, three scimitars in annulo argent.

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

Sword: rapier

Rapier, swept-hilted (Period)

Rapier, swept-hilted (Period)

Rapier, cup-hilted (Accepted)

Rapier, cup-hilted (Accepted)

The “rapier” is a late-period thrusting and parrying sword with an elaborate hilt.  Frequently, the type of rapier hilt is specified in Society blazon.

The “swept-hilted rapier” is found in period armory, in the canting arms (Italian spada) of Spatafora [BSB Cod.Icon 273:243].  This form may always be used if the type of rapier is left unblazoned.

The Society also has examples of the “cup-hilted rapier”, a variant dating to the beginning of the 17th Century [Stone 524].  This form of rapier should not be drawn as a modern fencing foil or epée:  i.e., it should have prominent quillons and a knuckle-guard.

The Order of Defense bears:  Three rapiers in pall inverted, tips crossed.

Amannita Villarosa bears:  Vert, two rapiers conjoined in chevron argent.

Johann Friedrich bears:  Per saltire sable and gules, in fess two rapiers Or.

This entry was posted on June 3, 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 .