Winnowing fan (Period)

Winnowing fan (Period)

Fan (Accepted)

Fan (Accepted)

A fan is a device for generating a current of air.  In medieval heraldry, the default fan was more fully termed a “winnowing fan” or “vannet”; it was used to blow the chaff from grain.  It’s a period charge, found in the canting arms of Septvans or Sevans, c.1275 [ANA2 556]; the handles are to chief, the wide part to base, by default.

In Society heraldry, the default fan is the handheld folding fan, used to cool humans.  This form is open or spread, with the wide part to chief, by default.  The folding fan is found in later period portraits (as in the “Ditchley” portrait of Elizabeth I, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, c.1595), but no examples are known in European armory.  However, a similar form, with paper covering the ribs, is found in Japanese Mon; this form (ogi) was borne by Satake Yoshinobu, 1569-1633 [Hawley 59].

Feather fan (Period)

Feather fan (Period)

Liturgical fan (Accepted)

Liturgical fan (Accepted)

Three other fans are found in Society armory.  There’s the “feather fan”, with plumes attached to a handle; it’s similar to a feather-edged fan found in the arms of Hintaller, mid-16th C. [NW 56].  There’s also the “liturgical fan”, a solid piece of stiffened fabric, used in church to keep insects away from the Host [EB X:168].  Finally, we have the “flag fan” (ventuolo) of 16th C. Italy, a stiff vane of woven fiber or parchment on an offset handle, as seen in Boissard’s Habitus Variorum Orbis Gentium, 1581.


Flag fan (Accepted)

Flag fan (Accepted)

All of these fans are palewse, with handles to base, by default.  Additionally, the asymmetrical flag fan has its vane to dexter by default; it is granted no difference from a banner (cf. flag).

See also basket.

Bronwyn Morgana MacPherson bears: Per bend azure and Or, a fan and a whelk shell counterchanged.

Emrys FitzRainold de Venoix bears:  Per fess rayonny azure and gules, three vanneaux Or.

Christiana Haberdasher bears:  Gules, a feather fan argent handled Or.

Regina from Adiantum bears:  Ermine, three liturgical fans gules.

Aurora Lucia Marinella bears:  Per pale gules and azure, in pale a flag fan fesswise flag to chief and a cushion Or.

This entry was posted on January 27, 2014, in .


Drawer-handle (Accepted, probable SFPP); slice of melon (Period, probable SFPP)

Drawer-handle (Accepted, probable SFPP); slice of melon (Period, probable SFPP)

The term “drawer-handle” (kan) is a modern term for a portion of a period charge in Japanese Mon:  it seems to be taken from the mokko, or “slice of melon” (Dower’s Elements of Japanese Design).  While we have no examples of the drawer-handle (in the illustration, the charge in chief) in period Mon, the mokko (the charge in base) is found in the Mon of Oda Hidenobu, d.1601 [Hawley 18].

In Mon, both the drawer-handle and the melon slice are used in multiples, not singly, and conjoined in annulo.

Kimura Tetsuo bears:  Sable, a plate issuant from a Japanese stream, within five drawer-handles conjoined in annulo argent.

This entry was posted on January 14, 2014, in .


Crane in its vigilance (Period)

Crane in its vigilance (Period)

The crane is a long-legged aquatic bird with a long neck and bill.  It was often depicted “in its vigilance”, standing on one foot and grasping a stone in the other.  The medieval bestiaries held that the crane would stand this way; should it fall asleep, it would drop the stone and awaken.  As an heraldic charge, the crane dates from c.1270, in the canting arms (French grue) of the Counts de Gruyere [ANA2 191].

Heron (Period)

Heron (Period)

Similar to the crane are the “heron”, the “stork”, the “egret”, and the “ibis”.  The heron is distinguished by the long tuft on its head; it’s found in the canting arms of Heron, c.1255 [ANA2 192].  The stork is often depicted with a serpent or eel in its bill, even when this is not specifically blazoned; it is found in the arms of Egglescliffe, Bishop of Llandaff, 1323 [DBA2 151].  The ibis and egret appear to be Society innovations, and are generally drawn as found in nature.  All of these birds are close by default; though frequently drawn with one leg raised, this is considered an artistic detail, usually left unblazoned.


Japanese crane displayed (SFPP)

Japanese crane displayed (SFPP)

A particular depiction of the crane is the “Japanese crane” (tsuru):  legless, with its wings displayed in annulo, the whole forming almost a crescent.  It was used in the Mon of Mori Nagayoshi, d.1585 [Hawley 48].  The Japanese crane is permitted in Society armory, but as a non-European charge, it carries a step from period practice.

Grimbold of Settmour bears:  Ermine, a crane in its vigilance azure.

Brennan O Loughran bears:  Azure, two herons addorsed argent.

Karl von Süssen bears:  Vert, a stork passant, wings elevated and addorsed argent, grasping in its beak a fish Or, all within a bordure argent.

Sybilla Keisalovitch bears:  Argent, an ibis close to sinister reguardant, dexter leg upraised gules, within a bordure compony gules and argent.

Kamiizumi Hirotarō bears:  Argent, a Japanese crane displayed purpure.

This entry was posted on January 4, 2014, in .


Clove (Period); Japanese clove (Accepted, but probable SFPP)

Clove (Period); Japanese clove (Accepted, but probable SFPP)

A clove is a dried flower bud of the clove tree; it is considered a fruit for purposes of heraldic classification.  The clove is a period charge, found in the arms of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, 1532 [Bromley & Child 129].  Its “proper” tincture is dark brown.

There is also the “Japanese clove” (choji), a highly stylized rendering used in Mon [Hawley 35].  No period instances of its use have been adduced, but at this writing it remains acceptable for Society use.

Gwyneth Espicier bears:  Argent, a cinnamon tree eradicated vert within a bordure wavy azure semy of cloves argent.

Michael o Glofau bears:  Gules, a clove Or.

Yamakado Choji bears:  Sable, a Japanese clove within three crane’s heads couped at the shoulders in annulo argent.

This entry was posted on December 19, 2013, in .

Arrow; Arrowhead

Arrow (Period)

Arrow (Period)

An arrow is a feathered shaft, shot from a bow or crossbow as a missile.  It’s found in the allusive arms of Archer, 1320 [DBA1 10].

The arrow’s default orientation is palewise, point down.  When fesswise, its default orientation is with point to sinister; this is sometimes blazoned explicitly.  An “arrow proper” has a brown shaft and black head, with its feathers, or fletching, to be specified; the blazonry term for the fletching is “flighted”, e.g., “an arrow gules flighted azure.”  The head and feathers are drawn greatly exaggerated in size.

Sheaf of arrows

Sheaf of arrows (Period)

A “sheaf of arrows” is a bundle of three arrows, two in saltire and one palewise, bound where they cross.


Arrow notch (currently Acceptable); forked arrow (Period)

Japanese arrow notch (probable SFPP); forked arrow (Period)

Of the variant forms of arrow in medieval armory, the most common is the “bird-bolt”, with a wide blunt tip; it’s also termed a “bird-blunt” or a “boson”.  It’s a period charge, dating from c.1285, in the canting arms of Bozon [ANA2 211].  Somewhat rarer is the “forked arrow”, with a two-pronged point designed to slash, rather than pierce; it’s found in the arms of Prunnster, c.1600 [BSB 307:620], but may be more familiar as a charge found in Japanese Mon [Hawley 53].

Japanese Mon have proven the basis for several arrow-like charges in Society heraldry.  In addition to the forked arrow, supra, we have the “Japanese arrow notch” (yahaza), as found in the Mon of Saiki [Hawley 54]:  this is the section of the shaft with the feathers and nock, drawn in a stylized form.

Fire-arrow (Acceptable); boson (Period)

Fire-arrow (Accepted); boson (Period)

Several variant types of arrows are unique to Society armory:  A “fire-arrow” is an arrow with pitch-soaked cloth wrapped near the point, and enflamed.  A “quarrel” is a short arrow with feathers down its length; it’s used in crossbows, rather than longbows.  A “whistling arrow” is a 13th C. Mongolian artifact, with holes in the point to create a whistle as the arrow flies; as a non-European artifact, its use is considered a step from period practice.

Quarrel, whistling arrow

Quarrel (Accepted); Mongolian whistling arrow (SFPP)





Elf-bolt (Acceptable); arrow fletching (Acceptable)

Elf-bolt (Accepted); arrow fletching (Accepted)

An “arrowhead”, without qualification, is drawn simply as a generic barbed point; it’s a usual English term for the rogacina of Polish armory.  An “elf-bolt” is a stone arrowhead, chipped and flaked; prehistoric specimens found by the ancients were attributed to the Little People.  The “arrow fletching”, the feathered end of the shaft, is found in the Mon of Hatori Masanari, d.1596 [Hawley 54]; but as such fletchings are indistinguishable from European arrow fletchings, they are blazoned without qualification.

Crescent-shaped arrowhead (Period)

Crescent-shaped arrowhead (Period)

Finally, the “crescent-shaped arrowhead” is a forked arrowhead, with two points.  It’s a period artifact; the charge (or one very similar) is found in the arms of Motringer, mid-16th C. [NW 36].  The illustration is taken from Motringer.

For related charges, see pheon, spearhead.

The Order of Artemis, of the East, bears:  A sheaf of arrows azure.

Rumil Fletcher bears:  Azure, three arrows Or.

Loran Redbow bears:  Azure, three fire-arrows bendwise sinister in bend argent, enflamed proper.Styrbjorg Ulfethnar bears:  Argent, a demi-wolf salient proper, charged upon the shoulder with an elf-bolt argent, and issuant from a valknut gules.

Evan y Helfarch ap Llewellyn bears:  Erminois, on a pale gules in chief two bird blunts in saltire surmounted by an arrow inverted Or, a base counterchanged.

Kuji Ka Onimusashi bears:  Vert, a sheaf of forked arrows inverted surmounted by a three-pronged vajhra fesswise Or.

Daimon Isamu bears:  Argent, two axes, blades to center, between their handles two Japanese arrow notches in saltire, all gules.

Karin Ollesdotter av Augvaldsnes bears as a badge:  In fess a whistling arrow inverted vert sustained by a seahorse gules.

Rees of Northwoods bears:  Quarterly azure and gules, four arrowheads inverted argent.

Walkelin Montgomery bears:  Argent, three arrow fletchings in pall, shafts to center, a bordure sable.

This entry was posted on November 20, 2013, in .