Thursday, November 29, 2018

Another Version of the City Arms

While wandering about the center of the city of Arras, France, I walked by a public building which had a couple of coats of arms on its facade.

In this instance, I'm not speaking of the arms at the top of the facade; I will discuss those in my next post, and they aren't the arms of the City in any case.

No, I'm talking about the three shields in a row at the top of the arched window in the center of the building.

Now, that said, the two outer shields are, alas, merely decorative; they do not contain heraldry of any sort. As you can see for yourself here:

See? Very decorative, and beautifully carved, but not heraldic.

The central shield, however, while also decorative and beautifully carved, display the arms of Arras.

Or, more correctly, it displays a variant version of the arms of the city. If you click on the image above, it will take you to a larger image, where you can see there more clearly that the label of three tags, each of which is charged with three towers, is carved her as a label of four tags, each charged with three towers.

Despite this "error," though, it is a remarkably detailed carving, even down to the hatching,* with vertical lines on the main shield for red and horizontal lines on the smaller inset shield (inescutcheon) for blue.

It was, as it always is, a real pleasure to see a city using its coat of arms in such a public way.

* Hatching: a system developed in the 17th Century of drawing parallel lines in various directions used to indicate colors in a monochromatic environment, such as a book printed in black and white, or a stone carving, as here.

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