Cotising

Bend cotised (Period)

Bend cotised (Period)

Cotising is the addition to either side of an ordinary of a stripe parallel to the ordinary’s edge; these stripes are usually termed “cotises”.  The bend was the earliest ordinary to be cotised in medieval heraldry, but the fess and the pale quickly followed; and any double-sided ordinary may be cotised in Society heraldry.

Cotising an ordinary is considered the addition of secondary charges:  “a bend between two cotises” is another ways of saying “a bend cotised”.  (Alternatively, cotising an ordinary is equivalent to placing it inside another of the same ordinary voided; e.g., “a cross cotised” and “a cross within a cross voided” yield the same emblazon.)  In some ways, however, cotising is comparable to a complex line of division; certainly the cotises cannot exist without the central ordinary, and they have nothing to do with any other secondary charges.

Cotises follow the line of their central ordinary by default; e.g., “a fess wavy cotised” will have a fess wavy between cotises wavy.  It’s also possible for the cotises to have a different line than their ordinary:  e.g., the “bend plain cotised dancetty” in the arms of Clopton, c.1420 [Hope2 46].  Cotises can also be a different tincture than their ordinary, as in the “bend argent cotised Or” in the arms of Cone, 1308 [ANA2 161].

Cotises might have a complex line on the outer edge only:  e.g., the “bend plain cotised trefly on the outer edges” in the arms of Lower Alsace, 1493 [Neubecker 188].  Double cotises, as in the arms of Badlesmere, c.1300 [ANA 77], and even triple cotises are also possible, although the latter in only the simplest of armory.

Some ordinaries have special terms for cotising:  the cotises for a pale are called “endorses”, and the whole is blazoned “a pale endorsed” or “between endorses”.  The cotises for a chevron may also be called “couple-closes”.

Giulia Isabella da Venezia bears:  Counter-ermine, a bend cotised argent.

Margriet van Middelburg bears:  Gules, two chevronels ermine cotised Or.

Riocus de Uuenetia bears:  Azure, a pale Or endorsed argent.

Francis of Wurm Wald bears:  Vairy Or and sable, a cross cotised argent.

Thomas of Eastbrook bears:  Pean, a fess doubly cotised Or.

Rhiannon Annsachd bears:  Gules, a saltire cotised Or.

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