Archives

Zil

Pair of zils (questionable)

Pair of zils (questionable)

Zils, or zills, are finger cymbals used by modern ethnic dancers, notably Middle Eastern dancers.  Your Author has not found any period examples of their use, in armory or by dancers.

When borne in pairs, by Society convention, zils are arranged as worn on the dancer’s fingers:  in pale, the lower one inverted.  For related charges, see bell, musical instrument.

Stevanna of Houghton bears:  Vert, an arm embowed with hand to sinister argent, holding zils, with four armbands and entwined by a double-headed serpent, all Or.

Baraka bint Hasan al-Fahim bears:  Azure, a pair of zils between two scimitars addorsed crossed at the hilts argent.

Bahita of Abu Simbel bears:  Azure, a bend sinister Or between a zil bendwise and another bendwise inverted, all within a bordure argent.

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

Zither

Zither (Accepted)

Zither (Accepted)

Hammered dulcimer (Accepted)

Hammered dulcimer (Accepted)

The zither is a stringed musical instrument, or rather, a family of instruments, with strings stretched over a flat shallow box.  Unlike the harp, the strings were not free-standing; and unlike the lyre, the zither had no yoke.  It differed from the psaltery in that the strings’ notes were determined, not by their length, but by frets, bridges, or finger pressure; it could be played by strumming, plucking with a plectrum, or striking with hammers.  Though a period instrument, we’ve found no examples of the zither in medieval heraldry.

One form of zither (in a sense, the generic zither) is a long slender soundbox with three or four strings; it’s found in a fresco in the church of Rynkeby, Denmark, c.1560 [Grove 27:858].  This form evolved into the Swiss “scheitholt”, described in Praetorius’ Syntagma Musica, 1619, and the more ornate “epinette des Vosges” of France, post-period – and eventually to the modern “Appalachian dulcimer”, so-called though not actually a dulcimer.  The modern forms are no longer registerable, pending documentation.

The “dulcimer”, in its true sense, is a specific form of zither, a broad box with many strings.  It’s a period instrument, shown in a Flemish painting Mary Queen of Heaven c.1485 [Remnant 117].  In period, the dulcimer was always played by hammering; in modern parlance, it’s best to blazon it fully as a “hammered dulcimer”.

All zithers are shown with the strings facing the viewer by default; when blazoned “proper”, they are of brown wood.  No heraldic difference is granted between the various kinds of medieval zither.

Miriel d’Estoile bears:  Per bend argent and azure, a compass star azure and in bend a feather argent and a fretted zither Or.

Cadwan Galwiddoe of Redmarch bears:  Gules, on a bend between two mullets of eight points argent, a ram’s-headed scheitholt sable, detailed gules.

Dulcinea Margarita Teresa Velasquez de Ribera bears as a badge:  A hammered dulcimer Or.

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

Zule

Zule (Period)

Zule (Period)

A zule is a stylized representation of a column or support.  Its original function is unclear:  some scholars believe it to represent a balustrade pillar, while others consider it a table trellis.  The charge was originally from Dutch armory (Dutch zuil, “column”); it was introduced to England during the reign of William of Orange, where it was confused with the chess rook.  Many texts thus give “zule” as a synonym for “chess rook”; but the two are actually distinct charges.

The illustration is taken from the canting arms of van Zuylen, c.1370 [Gelre 88v].

The Orde van de Zuil, of the Barony of Red Spears, bears:  Per pale purpure and argent, a zule counterchanged.

Jorgen Gruuendale bears:  Per pale Or and gules, a zule counterchanged.

Lemoine de Gascony bears as a badge:  A zule sable.

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

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 .