Mouse statant (Period)

Mouse statant (Period)

The mouse is a tiny verminous beast, which gnaws in darkness; it was the medieval symbol of greed and female lasciviousness.  Heraldically, the category includes the “rat”, a larger rodent with much the same medieval reputation.  Both mice and rats are found in 15th Century Italian armory:  the canting arms (from Latin sorex and Italian ratto) of da Sorexina and Ratazi, respectively [Triv 329, 312].

The “dormouse” may likewise be included here:  although not biologically related to the mouse, their bodies are sufficiently similar to warrant inclusion.  The dormouse is distinguished from the mouse by its furry tail.  It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms (Italian ghiro) of de Giramis, mid-15th C. [Triv 153].

The mouse and its cousins do not have a proper tincture, per se:  if colored brown, they must be blazoned, e.g., a “brown mouse proper”.  Neither do they have a default posture; the illustration shows a mouse statant.  See also bat.

Edgar the Unready bears:  Gules, a mouse rampant argent.

Brice le Raton bears:  Lozengy sable and argent, a rat rampant gules.

Borgunna Varsdottir bears:  Per bend sinister raguly Or and azure, a decrescent and a dormouse dormant counterchanged.

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