Thursday, June 23, 2016

Okay, Now This Is Just Weird

In working on another one of my projects (an update to my book Camels In Heraldry), I've been looking through a whole lot of armorials looking for coats of arms with camels on the shield, as a crest, or as a supporter. And in the process, I occasionally come across something that can still surprise me.

Now, don't get me wrong; I've seen a lot of weird stuff in heraldry over the years. But it's a pleasure to run across something new, or at least, something new to me. As J.P. Brooke-Little put it so well in the introduction to his An Heraldic Alphabet:

You can study heraldry until you are azure in the face but inevitably discover, from time to time, that you are really quite vert. I have found this over and over again and I have been a herald for forty years, but never despair, herein lies the fun and if heraldry ceases to be fun - chuck it.

So in my greenness, and in the interest of continuing to have fun with heraldry, here is what I found the other day in an old Italian armorial and thought I should share with you:

I've been studying heraldry for over thirty years now, and this is the first instance of a dog-headed lion that I can recall seeing.

And it's canting, or punning, arms, too. Cane is Italian for "dog."

So is this fun or what?

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