“What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy? An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers, entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I should rather admire in him, his presumption or his s...ottishness. His presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices.” - Rabelais
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.
In a recent (April 9, 2013) news article, kentnews.co.uk noted the display in the Natural History Museum in London of the first substantiall...
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Monday, May 27, 2013
Some Heraldic Humor
I was reminded a few days ago of some heraldic jokes that one of my early heraldic mentors, Jay Rudin, created some years ago. (Have you ever noticed that many heralds seem to have a really wicked sense of humor? Many of the ones that I know, both professional and amateur, seem to have one. It's sometimes kept mostly hidden, but when it does appear, it's usually both intelligent and funny at the same time. But I digress.)
As I say, I was reminded of some heraldic jokes which he called "extraordinaries" that Jay had drawn up. Some were simply different interpretations of heraldic blazon, such as this one, which he blazoned as Ten lozenges in pile.
Others were an heraldic treatment applied to a different heraldic charge, for example, "a gore in its piety." It was all very amusing, until one day while doing some research, I found some actual examples of Jay's extraordinaries used in real coats of arms. The first one that I ran across (and I'll share a few of the others in the future) was this one, which Jay had blazoned a "fylfess," that is to say, a fess couped whose ends were treated like the arms of a fylfot (what is blazoned in German a halbrueckenkreuz).
Then, in Siebmacher's Wappenbuch von 1605, I saw the arms of Koelderer.
The first and fourth quarters, Gules, two "fylfesses" in pale Argent, right? And on the crest, too? You mean it's not a joke charge? Well, I'll be.
I have tried to find what the charge is actually blazoned, but it doesn't seem to appear in my favorite "go-to" book for German blazon, Das Grosse Buch der Wappenkunst. So I don't know what it's actually named in German. But still, who'd have thought that an heraldic joke would turn out to be a real heraldic charge?