The alphabet is one set of arbitrary symbols. The figures of heraldry are another set of arbitrary symbols. In the fourteenth century every gentleman knew one: in the twentieth century every gentleman knows the other. The first gentleman was just precisely as ignorant for not knowing that c-a-t spells "cat," as the second gentleman is for not knowing that a St. Andrew's Cross is called a cross saltire, or that vert on gules is bad heraldry. -- G.K. Chesterson
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't 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. 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 let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
This is what happens when an heraldic artist has never seen anything more than a very rough description of an heraldic beast when painting ...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Once Again ...
... and as I noted in my last post, "You can find heraldry everywhere!"
In this case, it was while I was shopping at the mall, where I ran across a display of mannequins wearing black tee shirts with this logo:
There are a couple of ways to blazon this. It's either:
Argent a cross quarter-pierced and on a chief sable an African lion passant adumbrated* argent, or
Checky of nine argent and sable, on a chief sable an African lion passant adumbrated argent.
Though the image is fairly small and not as clear as I would like (what can I say? My telephone does not take especially good pictures. Of course, when I was younger, the only thing you could do with a telephone was to talk to people on it), it is still clearly an African rather than an heraldic lion on the chief.
My only real quibbles with the design is that the helm is unnecessary, lacking a crest as it does, and the mantling tends to overwhelm the entire design. Still, though, as a trademark, it is pretty distinctive and quickly identifiable, which are some of the qualities of better heraldic design.
* Parker's A Glossary of Terms Used In Heraldry defines "Adumbration, or Transparency: the shadow of a charge, apart from the charge itself, painted in the same colour as the field upon which it is placed, but of a darker tint, or, perhaps, in outline only. The term belongs rather to the romance of heraldry than to its practice, and is imagined by the writers to have been adopted by families who, having lost their possessions, and consequently being unable to maintain their dignity, chose rather to bear their hereditary arms adumbrated than to relinquish them altogether. When figured by a black line the bearing is said to be entrailed."
Technically the lion in the arms above, not being of a darker shake of black, is not truly adumbrated, but being outlined in white, is not truly entrailed, either. What it is, is a white outline of a lion on a black chief.