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Vair

Vair, ancient (Period)

Vair, ancient (Period)

Vair, later period (Period)

Vair, later period (Period)

Vair is one of the principal furs in heraldry, consisting of a series of panes, alternately white and blue, completely tiling the field.  It was originally meant to represent squirrel-skins, sewn together with the back-fur and belly-fur alternating.  There are several varieties of vair, all of which are considered mere artistic variations of one another.

The earliest depiction of vair, dating from the Matthew Paris shields c.1244, had rounded edges.  Originally, the peaks didn’t touch the straight edges of the rows; by c.1400, the peaks might extend to the rows’ edges.  These depictions are sometimes termed “vair ancient” in modern heraldry texts; the stylization is not blazoned in Society armory, being left to the artist.  By the end of period, a more angular form of vair was used, tessellated with vair-bells; this form is the modern standard depiction.  Period heraldic tracts also gave names to different patterns of arranging the panes:  e.g., “counter-vair”, with the panes set base-to-base, and not alternating colors; and “vair en pointe”, with the panes staggered.  There are other forms as well, some of which came to be used in post-period armory.

Potent (Period)

Potent (Period)

One style of depicting vair came to be called “potent”, because the panes resembled potents or crutches.  Again, no difference is counted between vair and potent.

Vair furs may use other tinctures besides white and blue.  Such cases must be explicitly blazoned:  e.g., “Vairy Or and gules”, the canting arms of Ferrers, c.1244 [Asp2 222].  See also papellony, plumetty.

Kat’ryna Neblaga Volchkova bears:  Vair, flaunches gules.

Gauvain Eisenbein bears:  Vairy en point erminois and azure, a bordure gules.

Steven MacEanruig bears:  Potent, on a pile sable a cross crosslet argent.

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Vair-bell

Vair-bell (Disallowed)

Vair-bell (Disallowed)

A vair-bell is a single segment of the vair field.  As a charge, it would appear to be unique to Society armory, and is no longer registered.  The vair-bell is drawn in a stylized angular manner, with the point to chief.  See also bell, helm (kettle).

Ivan Brasonic bears:  Sable, a vair-bell inverted argent environed of eight plates in annulo.

Catherine of Greenfields bears:  Vert, a vair-bell Or, overall a raven’s quill bendwise sinister proper.

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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.

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Valknut

Valknut (SFPP)

Valknut (SFPP)

A valknut is a Norse artistic motif, consisting of three triangles voided and interlaced.  It was associated with scenes of Odin and the Valkyries (valknut, “corpse knot”), and may have represented the slain warrior’s soul.  As an heraldic charge, it’s unique to the Society; its use is considered a step from period practice.  The valknut has its point is to chief by Society default; valknuts inverted are no longer permitted.

There were several depictions of the valknut in Norse art; the illustration is the one accepted for Society use.  It’s based on the image on the Stora Hammars I stone, in Gotland.  See also knot, polygon.

Styrbjorg Ulfethnar bears:  Argent, a demi-wolf salient proper charged on the shoulder with an elf-bolt argent, issuant from a valknut gules.

Hallgrímr Úlfsson bears:  Gules, a valknut and a bordure argent.

Justin Stephen Cradoc bears:  Quarterly azure and argent, four valknuts counterchanged.

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Vase

Vase (Period)

Vase (Period)

A vase is a decorative vessel, generally taller than it is wide, and frequently double-handled; holding flowers was just one of its uses.  It’s a period charge, found in the arms of Sodré, c.1540 [Nobreza xxxvº], and of von Könder, 1605 [Siebmacher 161]; a vase without handles (and bearing flowers) is found in the arms of Fogler or Vogler, c.1560 [BSB Cod.Icon 390:715].

Society armory also has the “urn”, more used for storage than display:  similar in shape to the vase but somewhat broader in proportion, and usually without handles.  For related charges, see amphora.

Thomas Tarn Travis bears:  Per pale embattled Or and vert, in fess a tree and a vase counterchanged.

Richard of Havn bears:  Vert, upon a plate two urns azure, a base indented Or.

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Vegetable lamb

Vegetable lamb (Accepted)

Vegetable lamb (Accepted)

The vegetable lamb is considered a monster in Society heraldry, a mythical plant bearing young sheep as its fruit.  It was first mentioned in the Travels of Sir John Mandeville, c.1371, but does not appear in mundane armory.

Lysander Keisalovitch bears:  Argent, a vegetable lamb vert.

Solange Sarrazin bears:  Or, a vegetable lamb vert fructed argent and flowered gules, a chief indented azure.

Áine Táilliúir bears as a badge:  A vegetable lamb Or fructed of sheep sable.

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Vessels

Vessels are hollow containers for holding easily spilled contents.  They come in a wide variety of shapes, depending on their intended purpose; they may be made of metal, wood, horn, ceramic or glass.  If glass is intended, the charge should not be drawn as though transparent, through the use of voiding or chasing, but should be solidly tinctured.

For specific entries, see:  amphora, apothecary jar, barrel, bottell, bottle, churn, cup, flask, horn (drinking), ink bottle, pitcher, pot, saltcellar, tankard, tub, urinal, vase.  For related charges, see bowl, bucket, caldera gringolada, cupping-glass, frying pan, hourglass, mortar and pestle, water-bouget.

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Vêtu

Vêtu (Period)

Vêtu (Period)

Vêtu ployé (Accepted)

Vêtu ployé (Accepted)

Vêtu (French for “vested”) is a Continental partition of the field, formed by two lines from center chief and two lines from the base point, connecting at the sides of the shield.  The partition thus strongly resembles a lozenge throughout; and it will conflict with a lozenge, all other things being the same.  But the vêtu field differs from a lozenge in one respect:  In normal usage, only the central part of the field is charged; the vested portions of the field remain uncharged.  (Despite this, there are still a number of vêtu fields in Society heraldry with charges in the corner portions.)

The standard vêtu field uses straight lines; there is also a variant, “vêtu ployé”, with arched lines.  For related entries, see chapé, chaussé.

Cealmhain Realt Dubh bears as a badge:  Argent vêtu ployé sable.

Damon Kirby bears:  Argent vêtu gules, four lozenges in cross gules.

Kareina Talvi Tytar bears:  Azure vêtu, a long-haired domestic cat dormant argent.

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Vine

Two grape vines entwined, fesswise and throughout (Period)

Two grape vines entwined, fesswise and throughout (Period)

A vine is a long, slender slip characterized by its twisty shape; in nature, vines are too weak to stand upright, and so must entwine themselves around a support.  In heraldry, the vine is shown wavy or undy, usually leaved or fructed according to its kind.  Period armory has examples of “ivy vine” in the arms of Barbalonga, c.1540 [Nobreza xxviº], and “grape vines” in the arms of di Cadamosti, mid-15th C. [Triv 111].

Vines do not seem to have a default orientation – though if on an ordinary, they follow its line – so must in general be specified as palewise, &c.  Unlike other slips, however, vines are often placed as ordinaries:  thus, in the above examples, the arms of Barbalonga have an orle of ivy vine, while the arms of di Cadamosti have two grape vines entwined, fesswise and throughout, as in the illustration.

The Baron of Vinhold bears:  Per fess wavy argent and sable, two wreaths of grape vine vert fructed proper and a laurel wreath Or.

Esobella Rowena Erwyn Ross bears:  Bendy sinister argent and vert, a vine bendwise throughout wavy sable, flowered with a rose gules.

Eliška z Jihlavy bears:  Argent, an ivy vine palewise between flaunches vert.

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Viol

Viol (Period)

Viol (Period)

Rebec (Accepted)

Rebec (Accepted)

A viol is a stringed musical instrument, a medieval cousin of the violin.  It had a flat back, a fretted neck, and six strings; it was played with a curved bow.  Its “proper” tincture is brown, the color of wood.  When blazoned a “violin”, the Renaissance (i.e., modern) form is intended.

The terms “vielle” and “fiddle” are sometimes used to denote this family of instruments; these terms have the advantage of leaving the exact details and period to the artist.  By whatever name, the charge can be dated to c.1340, in the arms of Wilfendingen or Wieladingen [Zurich 347].

Similar to the viol is the “rebec”, more pear-shaped, with a rounded back like a lute, and three or four strings.  Heraldically, it is indistinguishable from the lute.

Both the viol and the rebec have strings to the viewer by default.  The Society default is with neck to chief, contrary to the period default.

Samuel Piper bears:  Quarterly vert and Or, four viols counterchanged.

Cedric Fithelere bears:  Per fess azure and argent, on a pale engrailed between in chief two violins palewise, in base a violin palewise, all counterchanged.

Rebecca de Ravenstein bears:  Vert, a rebec in bend sinister, pegheads in chief, crossed by a bow fesswise argent.

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