Heraldic Primer #2


May 24, 2013 by phicks2012

I love Heraldry. As a result, and because very few people really know a lot about it, I’ve decided to include in my blog some basic information about how heraldic “coat of arms” were put together back in the early days.

Last time I told you about the heraldic tinctures. This time I’m going to talk about the “Field”. The field is the background, or first layer of the design if you think in terms of paint. The field might be of a single solid tincture, or it might be divided in some way, but it’s still the first layer.

You can divide the field “per pale” right down the middle vertically, “per fess” right across the field horizontally, or “per bend” or “Per bend sinister” across the field diagonally. You can divide it “per chevron”, “per saltire”, “per pall”, or “quarterly” (see examples below), and you can even make it “checky” or “lozengy”, or “bendy”, or “paly” or “barry”.

field-gyronny field-Per Bend field-Per Chevron field-Per Fess field-Per Pale field-Per Pall field-Per Saltire field-Quarterly

A field divided 50/50 into two parts, or a field divided equally into four parts can use any tincture. A field divided into three parts needs to have two colors and a metal or two metals and a color. A field divided into more than four parts (like checky) must have the parts alternating between a color and a metal for reasons of contrast, because otherwise at a distance the design runs together and blurs.

The lines of division can be simple straight lines, or can be more complex (though, personally, I think something like checky wavy would make me nauseous , but we’ll get to that later.

2 thoughts on “Heraldic Primer #2

  1. Mandy Martin says:

    I have almost completed my research and documentation for using Or and argent gyronny. I hope I can get it passed. 🙂

    • phicks2012 says:

      Gyronny fields are divided into more than four equal parts, so according to the rules have to be 50/50 color and metal.

      Even under the new rules (SENA B.3.d. Elements Otherwise Divided: Elements not already mentioned must have good contrast between their parts. These include fields or charges evenly divided into four parts other than quarterly or per saltire, fields or charges evenly divided into more than four parts of two different tinctures, and fields or charges unevenly divided into multiple parts of two different tinctures must have good contrast between adjacent parts of the field.

      I think gyronny argent and Or is unlikely to get past that point, though I wish you luck.

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May 2013


I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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