From Lowe's Curiosities of Heraldry: “It does not seem to have occured to these allegorizing worthies that the tincture of a charge may be diametrically opposed to the signification assigned to the charge itself. For example, the coat ‘Vert, a bull's head or’ by the armilogical rules cited above, would signify, as to the tinctures, pleasure and joy, while as to the charge it would mean rage and fury. Again, ‘Purpure, a wolf argent’ would mean ‘a wrangler with a peacable disposition!!’”
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't design and register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. (You can find some of my books about heraldry and a list of my articles and presentations about heraldry at "Our Website" below.) And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to ask or let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
There’s an interesting little article published July 6, 2012, on the website 65° North: News and Views from Oulo, Finland, about Oulo’s coat of arms and heraldry in Finland generally.
In addition to touching upon the arms of Oulo (above), there are excerpts from interviews with several heraldry enthusiasts and what coats of arms mean and who can bear them. (The short answer: In Finland, anybody.)
My favorite line was a quote from a Swedish heraldist who said that “What a surname is for the ears, the coat of arms is for the eyes.” (I make a not terribly dissimilar point in some of my presentations introducing heraldry to genealogists, in that a coat of arms is like a name tag or a graphic ID; it says that “I am so-and-so” and, by extension, that “I belong to such-and-such a family.”)