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Naga

Five-headed naga glissant (SFPP)

Five-headed naga glissant (SFPP)

The naga is a mythical creature of Asia, depicted in various forms depending on the region. As accepted for Society use, the naga is a monster drawn as a serpent with multiple stylized heads; this is the form found in Thailand, as described by a Portuguese Jesuit, Fernão Mendes Pinto, in 1569 (papers published posthumously in 1614).

Like the serpent, the naga has no default posture in Society armory; likewise, the number of heads is explicitly blazoned. The illustration shows a five-headed naga glissant. The use of the naga, as a motif from outside period Europe, carries a step from period practice. For related charges, see dragon (hydra).

The Canton of Golden Playne bears: Vert, a five-headed naga glissant contourny Or within a laurel wreath argent.

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

Nail

Passion nail (Period); tiler's nail (Period)

Passion nail (Period); tiler’s nail (Period)

A nail is a sharpened metal spike, driven with a hammer, used for holding together or anchoring pieces of stiff material (such as wood).  Nails are palewise, point to base, by default.

Heraldry doesn’t firmly define the different types of nails:  some of the names below have all been applied to the same type of nail.  The following definitions are in most general use:

In period armory, the most common form of nail has a square cross section (seen with one corner to the viewer, appearing triangular) and a pointed head.  It has been blazoned simply as a “nail” (cloue in French), as in the canting arms of Clouvyle or Clonvile, c.1520 [DBA2 513, Guillim1 209; also de Bara 59].  The same form, however, is also sometimes termed a “passion nail”, symbol of Christ’s Passion [Parker 447], and it is so blazoned in Society armory.  The passion nail is found in the civic arms of Nagolt, 1605 [Siebmacher 226].

The “tiler’s nail” is a builder’s implement, with a square cross section and a flat head; Parker [422] cites this form of nail in the canting arms of Tyler, which DBA1 [390] dates temp. Henry VII.

Horseshoe nail (Accepted); closing nail (Period)

Horseshoe nail (Accepted); closing nail (Period)

Parker also cites the “horse nail” or “horseshoe nail”, though giving no illustration; however, by assigning it to the arms of Clouvile, he apparently equates it with the default nail (i.e., passion nail).  In Society armory, the horseshoe nail is based on period artifacts.

Finally, there is the “closing nail”, used by glaziers to hold pieces of stained glass in place during leading.  It too is a period charge, having been borne (without authority) by the Worshipful Company of Glaziers in 1588 [Bromley & Child 115].

The types of nail are not always distinguished in emblazons, and no heraldic difference is granted between them.  For related charges, see rivet.  See also staple, tricune.

The Order of the Silver Nail, of the Barony of Stargate, bears:  Per chevron inverted sable and argent, a horseshoe nail and a horseshoe counterchanged.

Guy Nagel bears:  Or, two passion nails in saltire sable.

Padruig Maclennan bears:  Argent, a chevron gules between two crosses crosslet fitchy and in pile three tilers’ nails points conjoined all within a bordure embattled sable.

Christopher Starling bears:  Per bend sable and argent, a closing nail bendwise sinister argent.

Sigurðr inn danski bears as a badge:  A tiler’s nail Or.

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

Needle

Sewing needle threaded (Period)

Sewing needle threaded (Period)

Double-pointed knitting needle palewise (Accepted)

Double-pointed knitting needle palewise (Accepted)

A needle is a slender sliver of metal or bone, sharpened at the end and used for manipulating thread.  In Society armory, the default needle is the “sewing needle” (often so blazoned):  a metal needle with a hole in one end for thread, used for hand sewing.  It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms (from dial. Italian gugela) of de Agugellis, mid-15th C. [Triv 41].  Sewing needles are sometimes found threaded; their points are to base by Society default.

There is also the “knitting needle”, which should be double-pointed; one of the earliest representations of knitting, the Buxtehude altarpiece c.1395 [Richard Rutt, A History of Hand Knitting, p.49], shows needles in this form.  Although a period artifact, the knitting needle is unattested in medieval armory.  It doesn’t seem to have a default orientation in Society blazonry; the illustration shows a double-pointed knitting needle palewise.

The Shire of Mendersham bears:  Azure semy of needles argent, a laurel wreath Or.

Eibhlín an Fraoich bears:  Per chevron azure and argent, a sewing needle azure.

Zeresh la Tricoteuse bears:  Per bend azure and sable, a unicorn’s head couped argent, armed and crined, and two double-pointed knitting needles in saltire Or.

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Nefr

Nefr (Accepted)

Nefr (Accepted)

A nefr is an Egyptian hieroglyphic, signifying the “heart and windpipe”, and used by them as a good-luck symbol.  No examples are known in period armory.  See also letters.

Einar Lutemaker bears:  Vert, a nefr Or.

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Nesselblatt

Nesselblatt (Period)

Nesselblatt (Period)

A nesselblatt is a highly stylized nettle leaf; it is found in German heraldry, c.1370, in the arms of the Counts von Holstein [Gelre 97v].  Though some books claim it is equivalent to a bordure indented, the nesselblatt is actually an independent charge:  it does not follow the line of the shield, but always keeps its basic triangular shape.  See also leaf, seeblatt.

Wolfger von Sibenbürgen bears:  Or, a nesselblatt sable.

Friedrich Bruner bears:  Per pale gules and sable, a nesselblatt Or.

Olwynn ni Chinnéidigh bears:  Or, three nesselblätter gules.

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 .

Net

Net (Accepted)

Net (Accepted)

Herring net (Accepted)

Herring net (Accepted)

A net is an openwork pattern of cords, loosely woven and knotted, and used to catch fish and game.  In medieval heraldry, “net” is also a canting term for a fret, or a fretty field.  In Society heraldry, the typical net seems to be a fisherman’s net, as in the illustration.

There is also a Society example of a “herring net”, mounted on a long handle; the illustration is based on a woodcut in Olaus Magnus’ History of the Nordic People, 1555.  Though both of these nets are period artifacts, we’ve no examples of either as a charge in period armory.  See also spiderweb.

 

The Order of the Golden Seine, of the Barony of Illiton, bears:  Azure, a rectangular net Or, in its dexter chief corner a plate.

Kwellend-Njal Kolskeggsson bears as a badge:  A net Or.

Ailikn Olafsdottir bears:  Vert, a hare rampant maintaining a herring net and a chief wavy argent.

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

Niddy-noddy

Niddy-noddy (Period)

Niddy-noddy (Period)

A niddy-noddy is a handheld reel for gathering skeins of yarn.  Though the term isn’t period, the charge certainly is, found in the arms of von Stratzberg, mid-16th C. [NW 57].  The Society uses the modern term in blazon for clarity’s sake.  The niddy-noddy is palewise by default.

Astridr Selr Leifsdóttir bears as a badge:  A niddy-noddy Or wound with yarn azure.

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Norse beasts

Norse serpent nowed (Disallowed)

Norse serpent nowed (Disallowed)

Norse beasts, or Norse serpents, are a class of monster characterized by long sinuous bodies, one or two legs (front and back), and a complex interlacing.  Some forms also have a head lappet or pigtail, which if long may be interlaced with the rest of the body.  Further details of Norse beasts are usually blazoned by the drawing style of their original sources; such drawing styles carry no heraldic difference.

The most common style of drawing Norse beasts is the “Urnes style”; it takes its name from the decorations of a small church in the Norwegian village of Urnes.   The Society-default Norse beast is blazoned a “Norse serpent nowed”, and is drawn in the Urnes style.  The charge is based on a carving on the Sjua stone, c.1190.

Norse "Jelling-beast" nowed (Disallowed)

Norse “Jelling-beast” nowed (Disallowed)

Other styles of drawing Norse beasts include the “Jellinge” style, the “Ringerike” style, and the “Borre” style.  These terms are usually included only for the artist’s sake.  The “Norse Jelling-beast nowed” is actually not in the Jellinge style; but the blazon may be used to define this particular Norse beast.  The charge is based on a design on a silver bowl from Lilla Valla, Gotland, c.1050.

Finally, there are individual creatures which, though found in Norse art, are not nowed or interlaced.  An example is the “Lisbjerg gripping beast”, which is taken from a pair of 9th C. oval brooches found in Lisbjerg, Jutland.

Lisbjerg gripping beast (Disallowed)

Lisbjerg gripping beast (Disallowed)

None of the styles of Norse beast are presently permitted in Society heraldry.  The terms are too obscure, and previous blazons have no uniformity; they convey no information to the artist or herald.  For related charges, see orm, serpent.

Brynhildr Kormaksdottir bears:  Gules, a Norse serpent nowed Or.

Bjorn of Havok bears:  Counter-ermine, a Lisbjerg gripping beast gules.

Asbjorn Gustavsson of Roed bears:  Azure, a “Norse Jelling-beast” nowed, erect and reversed argent.

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