Schnecke issuant from base (Period)

Schnecke issuant from base (Period)

A schnecke is a highly stylized charge from German heraldry, consisting of a tapering line spiraling inward from a point on the shield’s edge to its center.  The term literally translates as “snail”, as its curve resembles that of the snail’s shell; in French blazon, it’s termed un gyron gironnant, “a spiraling gyron”.

The schnecke is a period charge, found in the arms of von Rordorf, 1605 [Siebmacher 198].  We have no period examples of its being charged, or used with other charges on the field; therefore, the use of a schnecke with secondary charges is considered a step from period practice, as is its use with tertiary charges.

The point at which the schnecke enters the shield should be blazoned; whether it spirals deasil or widdershins is left to the artist.  The illustration shows a schnecke issuant from base.

Schnecke issuant from base maintaining on its outer swirl three schneckes (Period)

Schnecke issuant from base maintaining on its outer swirl three schneckes (Period)

An early-period variation on the schnecke depicts it with three smaller schneckes issuant from its outer curve.  This form is found in the arms of Casteleynsche or Kestelinge, c.1370 [Gelre 110v], and appears to be unique to those arms.

For related charges, see gurges.

Peter Schneck bears:  Sable, a schnecke issuant from dexter chief argent.

Leocadia de Bilbao bears:  Argent, issuant from base a schnecke azure.

Marie de Blois bears as a badge:  Or, a schnecke issuant from sinister base maintaining on the outer swirl three schneckes sable.

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