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Oar

Oar (Period)

Oar (Period)

An oar is a long pole with a broad blade at one end, used for rowing a boat.  Its default orientation is palewise, blade to chief; its “proper” coloration is brown, the color of wood.  The illustration is taken from the arms of the Worshipful Company of Watermen and Lightermen, granted in 1585 [Bromley & Child 256].

The oar is also often found in the company of a ship, which is then blazoned “with its oars in action”; in that case, the oars have their blades to base (i.e., in the water).  See also peel (baker’s).

Adriana Tacita bears:  Per pale purpure and Or, two oars counterchanged.

Finnvarðr mjoksiglandi Grísson bears:  Per fess rayonny gules and azure, in chief two oars in saltire argent.

Cato ap Brion bears:  Vert, an oar fesswise Or.

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

Ombrellino

Ombrellino (Period)

Ombrellino (Period)

An ombrellino is, in its simplest form, a sunshade or parasol; but the form used in heraldry is taken from the achievement of the Pope. In that form, it’s more ornate, frequently ensigned with a cross, and has a handle resembling a tilting spear. The ombrellino became an element of the most common form of Papal augmentation of arms, as in the arms of Cesare Borgia, 1502 [Galbreath’s Papal Heraldry, p.30].

Since the ombrellino was used in Papal augmentation, its use in the Society must not be too allusive to that augmentation. In practice, that means the ombrellino may not be used in conjunction with keys in saltire.

Luciana Caterina de Borghese bears:  Vair, an ombrellino gules.

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

Opinicus

Opinicus statant (Period)

Opinicus statant (Period)

The opinicus is a chimerical monster with the head and wings of an eagle, the body and legs of a lion, mammalian ears, and the tail of a camel or bear.  It is very similar to the griffin, evidently a later variant form:  the illustration is taken from the grant to the Worshipful Company of Barbers, 1561 [Bromley & Child 14].

The opinicus does not seem to have a default posture; the illustration shows an opinicus statant.  For related charges, see hippogriff.

Fiammeta Attavanti bears:  Gyronny azure and Or, an opinicus statant gules.

Leopold von Haskenberg bears:  Azure, an opinicus sejant maintaining in its dexter upraised forepaw a goblet Or.

Christina Moncreife bears:  Per pale vert and purpure, an opinicus statant within a bordure argent.

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

Orb

Orb (Period)

Orb (Period)

An orb is a ball, banded and with a cross atop it; also called a “mound”, it is a symbol of the world (and thus, when used as regalia, of temporal sovereignty).  As an heraldic charge, it’s found in the arms of Friellas c.1540 [Nobreza xxxiiº].

In Society heraldry, the term “orb” was once used to refer to a featureless ball, synonymous with a roundel.  This usage is no longer followed; orbs and roundels are considered distinct charges, with difference granted.  For related charges, see sphere.

Fionn mac Con Dhuibh bears:  Azure, three orbs argent.

Randolph Wedderlie bears:  Or, an orb gules.

Margrett Schwarzenberger bears:  Per chevron argent and sable, three orbs counterchanged.

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

Ordinaries

Ordinaries are among the oldest and most common heraldic charges, being simple geometric shapes bounded by straight lines (or semi-circular curves, for some).  Their shapes may have been derived from the reinforcing bands of a shield.  There is disagreement in heraldry texts over the distinction (if any) between an ordinary and a sub-ordinary, and which charges fall into which categories.  The general Society usage refers to the central ordinaries, which cross the center of the field – the bend, chevron, chief-pale, cross, fess, pale, pall, pile, and saltire – and the peripheral ordinaries, which lie on the field’s edge – the base, bordure, canton, chief, flaunches, gore, orle, and tierce.

In general, ordinaries are drawn so as to take up one-fourth to one-third the width of the shield; the bordure and the orle are typically somewhat narrower.  These are rules of thumb only, not precise divisions; the exact proportions will vary, depending on the composition of the armory.  If the ordinary is surrounded by secondary charges, it will be drawn somewhat narrower; if the ordinary is itself charged, or if it has a complex line of division, it will be somewhat wider.

When more than one of a given ordinary is used in armory, they must necessarily be drawn narrower; these are called the “diminutives” of that ordinary.  Special terms may be used in those cases:  the diminutive of the fess is the “bar”, the diminutive of the bend is the “bendlet”, &c.  The diminutive term should not be applied to single ordinaries, but only when there are two or more of them (or, rarely, when the visual importance of the ordinary is in some way reduced:  a “bendlet enhanced”, for instance).

More than a single type of ordinary may be used in one armory, though there are limitations.  In general, the use of two or more peripheral ordinaries is considered poor style.  A central ordinary may usually be used with a peripheral ordinary (a fess and a bordure, for instance).  Continental armory had some special names for certain combinations of ordinaries, treating them as charges in their own right:  e.g., the chief-pale, combining a pale and a chief.

Ordinaries are subject to the complex lines of division:  indented, wavy, &c.  Only the double-sided ordinaries, however, may be dancetty, voided, fimbriated, or cotised; and except for the fess, ordinaries nowed are considered a step from period practice.  For more information, see the entries for the individual ordinaries.  See also cotising, gemel.

Alia fitz Garanhir bears:  Argent, a fess conjoined in chief with a demi-pale between three mullets of six points gules.

Daria Tayt bears:  Gules, a pale and a chief Or.

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

Organ pipe

Organ pipe (Period)

Organ pipe (Period)

An organ pipe is a long metal cylinder, with a fipple (“whistle slot”) at the lower end; it’s the part of the organ from which the sound emerges.  It’s a period charge, shown in Bossewell, 1572 [III.13º], and found in the arms of Williams, c.1520 [Walden 296; also Guillim1 199].

The organ pipe can be found alone (as in the illustration), or in a “range” of several pipes mounted together [Franklyn 246]; the number of pipes is then specified.  The organ pipe is palewise, conical end to base by default.  See also portative organ.

Melodia Beaupel bears as a badge:  An organ pipe argent.

Elfrida Scholastica Eliensis bears:  Per bend azure and Or, a range of three organ pipes and a Wake knot counterchanged.

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

Orle

Orle (Period)

Orle (Period)

The orle is an heraldic ordinary, a band parallel to the edge of the shield; its width is typically one-tenth to one-twelfth that of the shield.  Its original form was as an escutcheon voided, which form dates to c.1255 in the arms of Balliol [ANA2 503]; but unlike an escutcheon voided, which is always escutcheon-shaped, the orle conforms to the shape of the field it charges.  As an ordinary, it is subject to most of the usual treatments.

The diminutive of the orle is the “tressure”; the term is used when there are two or more of the charge.  The number is given as, e.g., a “double tressure” or “triple tressure”.  Double tressures are found as early as 1280, in the arms of the Kings of Scots [ANA2 103].  The tressures used in Scotland’s arms, the “double tressure flory counter-flory”, are granted by the Crown of Scotland as an augmentation, and not permitted in Society heraldry; even charges suggestive of the Scots tressures, such as the orle demi-flory, are disallowed.  (The arms of Scotland at one point used an orle flory counter-flory, c.1244 [Asp2 208], so the prohibition has some historical basis.)  Although in theory a double tressure could be surmounted by charges other than fleurs-de-lys – e.g., a double tressure surmounted by mullets – no period examples have been found, and the practice is considered a step from period practice.

Orle of martlets (Period)

Orle of martlets (Period)

The term “orle” had another usage in medieval blazons, predating its application to the escutcheon voided:  it described an unnumbered group of charges arranged around the edge of the shield, where the edge of a bordure would be.  Thus, in the arms of the Earls of Pembroke, c.1244 [ANA2 210], a group of martlets around the shield’s edge (as shown in the illustration) would be blazoned “an orle of martlets”.  Note that the charges in the orle are all in their default orientation; if the charges are to orient themselves parallel to the edge of the shield, Society blazon would use the term “an orle of [charges] in orle”.

Frithiof Sigvardsson Skägge bears:  Gyronny argent and vert, an orle sable.

Padraig Ó Taidg bears:  Azure, a double tressure argent.

Rowan of Hakesleah bears:  Gules, an orle of escallops Or.

Geoffrey le Bay bears:  Sable, an orle of plates.

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

Orm

Orm (questionable)

Orm (questionable)

This monster is a wingless, legless dragon, with a fair amount of knotting.  It is defined in the following arms.  Though it has not been explicitly disallowed, given the orm’s similarity to Norse beasts, its current acceptability is questionable.

Orm Skjoldbidig bears:  Sable, an orm erect contourny gules, armed, langued and fimbriated Or, debruised by a bezant.

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

Ostrich

Ostrich maintaining in its mouth a horseshoe (Period)

Ostrich maintaining in its mouth a horseshoe (Period)

The ostrich is a gawky, flightless bird, famed for its ability to digest the non-digestible.  For that reason, it’s frequently depicted with a bit of iron in its mouth (usually a horseshoe, sometimes a key), even when not so blazoned.  The ostrich is a period charge, found in the arms of Robard of Kyrton, c.1460 [RH].  The ostrich is statant and close by default.

Creppin a l’Ostriche bears:  Gules, an ostrich statant wings elevated and addorsed Or.

William Crome bears:  Argent, an ostrich and on a chief azure, a feather fesswise argent.

Vladislav the Purple bears:  Purpure, on a bend sinister between a harp and an ostrich close Or, a decrescent palewise purpure.

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

Oven

Domed oven (Period)

Domed oven (Period)

An oven is an enclosed, heated chamber, used to bake or roast food.  Ovens were found in many forms in period; the form documented in period heraldry is specified as a “domed oven”, and is found in the arms of Stubenwid, c.1340 [Zurich 267].  The circular air vents are part of the definition of the charge, and are not considered tertiary charges.  For related charges, see athanor.

John Doctor Smith bears:  Azure, a domed oven argent vented sable.

Sven miðlungr bears:  Argent, a domed oven sable vented argent.

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