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Label

Label (Period)

Label (Period)

Label couped (or dovetailed) (Period)

Label couped (or dovetailed) (Period)

The label is an ancient charge, dating from early heraldic records, c.1244 [Asp2 220].  It consists of a horizontal stripe with several short dags (called “points”) dependent from its lower edge.

By default the label is in chief, throughout, and of three points.  This form of label, the label throughout, was the earliest form of the charge, and remains the most common.  However, the label’s form varied as time passed, with the points sometimes being drawn splayed, and sometimes with the label not throughout.  This more compact form has been blazoned in the Society as a “label dovetailed” or a “label couped”.  Current Society practice is to treat both forms of label as artistic variation, and to not blazon the precise form.

The label was recognized throughout Europe as the brisure of the eldest son.  However, there are examples (in both period and Society armory) of its use as an independent charge, with no cadency intended:  e.g., the arms of Woldenberg, c.1370 [Gelre 45v].

Seamus Ruadh bears:  Gules ermined Or, a label argent.

Cei Myghchaell Wellinton bears:  Per pale Or and bendy gules and ermine, a label sable.

Valentino da Siena bears:  Per pale sable and Or, in pale three labels couped counterchanged.

This entry was posted on February 18, 2014, in .

Labyrinth

Labyrinth (Period)

Labyrinth (Period)

A labyrinth is a complex maze pattern, designed to baffle those who walk it.  The original labyrinth, in Greek myth, was the home of the Minotaur of Crete.  In medieval times, labyrinths were incorporated into the pavement of churches, to symbolize pilgrimage and the path to God.  In this form, it was used as the devise (impresa) of de Laval de Bois-Dauphin, Archbishop of Embrun, 1555 [Mathews, Mazes and Labyrinths, 1970, pp.96-97].  The illustration is taken from de Laval’s devise.

Joorkin Volz bears:  Azure, a labyrinth argent.

Chiara Calandra bears:  Vert, a labyrinth and on a chief Or three clews of yarn vert.

This entry was posted on February 20, 2014, in .

Lace bobbin

Lace bobbin (Accepted)

Lace bobbin (Accepted)

A lace bobbin is a small spindle on which thread is wound, used in the manufacture of lace.  Though lace, and the tools for making it, date from the 16th Century [EB XVI:39], the lace bobbin itself doesn’t appear to have been used in period armory.  The lace bobbin is palewise, handle to base, by Society default; when blazoned “proper”, the lace bobbin is brown, the color of wood.  For related charges, see drop-spindle, quill of yarn.  See also broach (embroiderer’s), spool of thread.

Britta Jonasdotter bears:  Azure, six lace bobbins in chevron inverted Or, threaded argent, the threads issuant from a bezant in chief.

Jeanna of Melton bears:  Azure, a lace bobbin argent.

Ingrid von Eichenkamp bears:  Or, in bend two lace bobbins bendwise sinister vert.

This entry was posted on February 20, 2014, in .

Ladder

Ladder (Period)

Ladder (Period)

Scaling ladder (German style) (Period)

Scaling ladder (German style) (Period)

A ladder is a climbing tool, with two side pieces connected by a series of rungs; the side pieces were most commonly drawn parallel, though they were frequently drawn wider at the bottom for extra stability.  It is a period charge, found as early as c.1340, in the canting arms (German Leiter) of Leiterberg [Zurich 260].

A variant, the “scaling ladder”, has hooks at the top for fastening to a wall; it was used in sieges.  This form is found in the arms of Shipstowe, 1610 [Guillim1 230].  (The German form of scaling ladder, illustrated, is drawn quite differently, as a broad hooked post with footholds on either side; it’s found in the arms of von Bredow or Bredaw, 1605 [Siebmacher 174].  This stylization seems to be unique to Germany, and no difference is granted for it.)  Ladders in all forms are palewise by default.

Anita Escalera bears:  Sable, a ladder bendwise sinister argent.

Constantine FitzPayn bears:  Lozengy argent and vert, on a pale argent a scaling ladder sable.

Beinean Colm of Caer Dragwyrdd bears:  Argent, two ladders in saltire sable between in fess two torteaux.

This entry was posted on February 20, 2014, in .

Lamia

Lamia passant guardant (Period)

Lamia passant guardant (Period)

The lamia was originally a female creature from Greek myth, combining the traits of the vampire and succubus.  The legend evolved over the centuries:  in Tudor heraldry, the lamia was depicted as a monster with the body of a lion, the head and breasts of a woman, and the tail of a horse; its forelegs are a woman’s arms, ending in hands, and the hindlegs are those of a goat.  In this form, it’s found as the canting crest of Lambent, 1585 [Dennys 117; Gwynn-Jones 106], though later heralds confused it with the manticore.

The lamia doesn’t seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows a lamia passant guardant.  For related charges, see man-tyger, sphinx.

Muirgen mac Ultain bears:  Sable, a lamia passant guardant Or.

This entry was posted on February 24, 2014, in .

Lamp

Lamp, lit (Period)

Lamp, lit (Period)

A lamp is a source of light, consisting of a container of oil with an emerging wick.  The earliest form, dating from at least Roman times, was simply a shallow bowl bearing a wick; the most usual medieval form had a conical base, which could be held in the hand or mounted on a fixture.  This is the default heraldic form of lamp, found in period armory in the arms of Wetewang, c.1410 [TJ 1555; see also Bedingfeld 90].

Arabic lamp, lit (Accepted)

Arabian lamp, lit (Accepted)

However, the most commonly found lamp in Society armory is the “Arabian lamp”, with a handle at one end and the wick in a spout at the other; it’s also been blazoned a “Greek lamp”, though the shape is unchanged.  It’s frequently drawn as the “Aladdin’s lamp” of modern imagery; we’ve no period examples of lamps in that form, neither as a charge nor as an artifact.  However, a basic boat-shaped form of lamp was used in period, as terra cotta artifacts:  the illustration is based on an 11th C. terra cotta lamp found in Sicily.  Based on that example, the Arabian lamp is still permitted for Society use as of this writing.  The Arabian lamp has its handle to sinister by default.

Hanging oil lamp, lit (Accepted)

Hanging oil lamp, lit (Accepted)

Society armory also has the “hanging oil lamp”, with a shallow flat bowl of oil fastened to a vertical handle:  the handle can be hung from a hook over a drawing table.  Like the Arabian lamp, it isn’t found in period armory; however, the hanging oil lamp is a period artifact, as seen in the Opera of Bartoloneo Scappi, 1570, on which the illustration is based [Peter Thornton, The Italian Renaissance Interior, 1400-1600, plate 347; cf. also plates 23, 294].  Unlike the Arabian lamp, the hanging oil lamp doesn’t have a default orientation; it is left as an unblazoned detail.  (There’s also one instance in Society armory blazoned simply an “oil lamp”, with no handles; it’s the exception.)

Any form of lamp, if blazoned “flammant” or “enflamed”, is shown with the wick lit.  “Lit”, of course, works as well.  The lamps in the illustrations are all lit.

For related charges, see candle, lantern, torch.  See also pitcher.

The Royal University of Ithra bears:  Gules, on a sun Or eclipsed gules, an Arabian lamp flammant Or.

The Order of the Golden Beacon, of the Barony of Ynys Fawr, bears:  Per bend sinister azure and Or, a lamp argent enflamed Or.

Tiffanie du Claire bears:  Purpure, a [square] oil lamp enflamed between three stars of David one and two Or.

Arthur Lemner of Wesley bears:  Azure, in pale a drawing compass and a two-spouted oil lamp argent, enflamed Or.

Brigid Duncan bears:  Per bend vert and gules, a bend between a hanging oil lamp argent lit Or and a boar sejant Or.

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

Lantern

Lantern (Accepted)

Lantern (Accepted)

A lantern, or lanthorn, is an enclosed source of light.  The mundane heraldic lantern (which does not date to period) is a ship’s lantern, spherical and with swivels to keep the inner lamp upright [Bromley & Child 241].  The Society’s default lantern might be more fully termed a “hanging lantern”:  an enclosed cylinder or box, often with a handle, containing a candle, which it protects from the elements.  If the candle is visible, it’s usually shown lit, whether blazoned so or not.

In early Society heraldry, the lantern was drawn in the form used at the camping events of that time:  with large glass panes mounted in a thin frame.  This modern form of lantern is no longer registerable, pending period documentation.  The more period lantern used panes of horn or oiled parchment; the illustration is taken from a mural painting of the Chapel Notre-Dame des Fontaine, La Brigue, late 15th C.  The lantern’s panes may sometimes be explicitly tinctured in the blazon, though no difference is granted for it.

For related charges, see lamp.  See also torch.

Arthur of Lockhaven bears:  Azure, a lanthorn Or.

Thomas Ouswood bears:  Vert, a lantern argent enflamed Or.

Saher Faux bears:  Or, a staff bendwise, dependent from its dexter end a lantern, all within a bordure indented sable.

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

Leaf

Leaf (generic) (Period)

Leaf (generic) (Period)

A leaf is that part of a plant which gathers light and provides shade.  The default heraldic leaf seems to be a generic sort, with a simple elliptical shape; as heraldic charges, this sort dates from c.1300 [ANA2 249].  However, leaves of all shapes are found in period armory:  elm leaves in the arms of Elmerugge or Elmridge, c.1285 [ANA2 289], oak leaves in the arms of Tregruthken, 1335 [DBA2 381], holly leaves in the arms of Eruyn or Irwin, 15th C. [Scots 48v], linden leaves in the arms of von Lynden or Linden, c.1370 [Gelre 43v; also Siebmacher 141], ivy leaves in the arms of Yve, c.1470 [DBA2 43].

 

 

 

Linden leaf (Period); oak leaf (Period)

Linden leaf (Period); oak leaf (Period)

Ivy leaf (Period); holly leaf (Period)

Ivy leaf (Period); holly leaf (Period)

As may be seen, the type of leaf was frequently chosen for the sake of a cant – Yue had yew leaves, Hesilrigg had hazel leaves, Malherbe had nettle leaves, &c – and without the cant, it is often difficult to determine the type of leaf being used.  Period rolls show the same arms drawn with different types of leaves.  The Society grants difference between some types of leaf, but not others.

Leaves have their stems to base by default, but there are frequent period examples of leaves inverted as well.  For related charges, see card-pique, foil, nesselblatt, seeblatt, slip, vine.  See also feather.

Ann of the Tall Trees bears:  Vert, an oak leaf fesswise argent.

Avisa of Rideja bears:  Per saltire Or and argent, a maple leaf vert.

Tamara iz Kiev bears:  Argent, three birch leaves vert.

Seved Ribbing bears:  Per fess azure and Or, three linden leaves counterchanged.

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

Leek

Leek (Period)

Leek (Period)

The leek is a pungent herb, similar to the onion.  As an heraldic charge, it’s found in the canting arms (Italian porro) of de Poris, mid-15th C. [Triv 273]; but the leek was perhaps better known medievally as the (unofficial) plant-badge of Wales [Scott-Giles, The Romance of Heraldry, p.18].  (Modern heralds have recognized this usage officially.)  The leek is palewise, bulb to base by default.  See also fruit.

Annore Spicer bears:  Argent, a leek within a bordure wavy vert.

Dewi Balch bears:  Per fess argent and vert, a leek counterchanged.

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

Leg; Foot

Leg couped (Period)

Leg couped (Period)

Legs are the limbs used for locomotion.  Any legged creature may contribute a leg to heraldry; legs from humans, eagles, lions, bears, deer and horses are found in period armory.

 

The default leg is the human leg.  The human leg is severed well above the knee; it should be specified whether the leg is couped (as in the illustration) or erased.  By default, the human leg is shown bare; it may also be clothed in men’s hosen, as in the canting arms of de la Hose c.1275 [ANA2 550], or be shod in sandals or shoes.

 

 

Lion's jambe erased (Period)

Lion’s jambe erased (Period)

Eagle's leg couped à la quise (Period)

Eagle’s leg couped à la quise (Period)

Some animals’ legs have special terms in blazonry.  A lion’s leg may be called its “gambe” or “jambe”; as a charge, it dates from at least 1413, in the arms of von Litaw [Conz.Const. cliiii].  (A dragon’s leg may also be called its “jambe”.)  Birds’ legs may be severed “à la quise”, at the thigh; this usage is found c.1480, in the arms of Lancaster [DBA2 383].  Lions’ and dragons’ jambes are erect by default, with their claws to chief; humans’ and birds’ legs are foot down by default.  The illustrations show a lion’s jambe erased and an eagle’s leg couped à la quise.

 

 

 

Foot couped (Period)

Foot couped (Period)

Bird's foot bendwise erased (Period)

Bird’s foot bendwise erased (Period)

A “foot” is the section of the leg below the knee.  Human feet are found, dating from c.1295 in the arms of Shrigley [ANA2 453]; they are detached from their legs at the ankle, and have their toes to dexter by default.

Of animals’ feet, the most confusion has arisen with birds’ feet:  a common mistake is to blazon the foot as a “claw” or “talon”, which properly refers only to the toenail.  The bird’s foot is a period charge, as found in the arms of von Grünau, 1605 [Siebmacher 58]; it includes no part of the thigh, but only the unfeathered portion below the joint.  The illustration shows a bird’s foot bendwise.

The majority of beasts’ and birds’ feet (as distinct from legs) are erect by default, with the claws to chief; only human feet seem to go downwards by default.  For related charges, see claw (crab’s), sole, triskelion.  See also ham.

The Order of the Jambe de Lion, of An Tir, bears:  Checky Or and argent, a lion’s jambe bendwise inverted erased sable.

Pascal Foljambe bears:  Azure, a leg couped Or.

Anlaug Dalesdotter bears:  Or, three armored legs azure.

Emma Barfoot bears:  Sable, a foot couped and in chief a bar argent.

Lothar von Katzenellenbogen bears:  Or, in saltire five lion’s jambes couped at the shoulder gules.

Cett Donegal bears:  Gules, three eagle’s jambes erased à la quise contourny argent.

Wulfwen atte Belle bears as a badge:  In pale a tentacle vert issuant from a boot sable and maintaining a spoon fesswise reversed Or.

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