crouchet at infinity.ccsi.com
Mon Mar 27 23:36:53 PST 1995
On Metals & Colors:
The metals are OR (gold or yellow) and ARGENT (Silver, White or Grey)
The Colors are Vert (green), Gules (red), Purpure (purple), Sable
(black) and Azure (blue).
The rule, simply stated, is that one cannot place a colored charge on a
colored background or charge, nor can one place a metal charge on a metal
background or charge. This is the rule of contrast.
This rule is designed to keep charges from disapearing into the
background. Consider how much more visable a yellow lion is on a black
background than on a white background. By always putting metal charges
on colored backgrounds and vice-versa you keep those charges clear from
across the field.
Note that there are exceptions to this and many shades of interpretation,
but that is the basic rule.
I can only think of two places where I have heard of a sleeve in
heraldry. One is as the decorated sleeve of a garmet, in particular a
heraldic tabard. The other is as a charge known as a monche (sp) which is
a stylized drawing of a lady's sleeve, used as a charge.
A bordure is a rim around the shield, drawn wide enough to be
recognizable as a charge. I did not say that well, but I could easily
show you a picture and it would be clear.
Which brings me to my main point. Heraldry is an art form just as much as
impressionism, cubism or realism. These _rules_ are just a set of
guidelines to help a person to understand how to consrtuct pictures in
this art form. But you can follow all the rules and still have really
bad heraldry, or break a few and still have good heraldry. The trick is
to study it until you can look at it and say, "Now THAT is heraldry!"
The book you want is Stephen Friar's Dictionary of Heraldry. There are
several others, but I haven't found a better basic guide and the price is
Here are a few of the NOT HERALDRY things to whatch out for:
Landscape. The Sun coming up over the trees with a lake to the left.
This is art, but not heraldry.
3-D art. Heraldry is not 3-D. Nuff Said.
Too many "natural" charges. Natural roses, tigers, lions, etc. take away
from the heraldic look of a device. There is a heraldic form for these
items for a reason. Use them and your devices will look more heraldic.
Too many charges. This often comes up when someone is trying to tell
their life story on their device. First I was a baby and then I turned
two and had a wagon and then I turned five and got a sword and then... We
call this ABPS (another boring persona story). In short, limit yourself
to no more than 3 unrelated charges and keep them BIG and recognizeable.
So 4 or 5 stars would be ok, but a star, a sword, a wolf's head, a keg,
a goat, a tin can, a meatloaf and a butterfly would be too much.
Keep your charges recognizeable. Can you figure out what it is easily
from a distance? If not, try again. This means charges should not
consist of a few thin lines, look too much like something else, or look
like a meatloaf. Meatloaf heraldry is bad.
Limit the details. If someone wants glow in the dark eyes or purple
claws on their 4 lions, so what? Don't bother to register this kind of
trivia, just let the artist draw it in when they use it. You can't tell a
purple clawed lion from a good old green clawed lion at 100 feet anyway.
I hope this helps. And you know the only way to really learn heraldry is
to hang around with the (shudder) heralds. Our baronial herald is on this
list -- ask her when she has heraldic consultation and show up.
Savian, Persivant at Large
On Mon, 27 Mar 1995 ches at pentagon.io.com wrote:
> I have been appointed the caretaker of heraldry in Amtgard but I have some
> questions that I feel only SCA folks can answer. My questions are these. What
> is the rule on metal touching color? What is a sleeve? What is defined as a
> borduer? These are rules that are not clear in my books, (I either have two
> opposing answers or no definition). I am asking for both an SCA point of view
> and a mundane view. I feel that the most knowledgable people on such matters
> are the SCA. This is why I am asking on this board. Amtgard has not yet
> defined the rules for heraldry, so for now it is free to individual
> interpretations. I would like to introduce basic guidelines and still stay in
> the fantasy genre but be able to answer questions that will come up. Any new
> books on the market on the subject of Heraldry today?
> Sir Ches Lady Chiara
> Austin, Tx. Barony of Bryn Gwlad
> Duchy of Tirana
> E-mail:Ches at io.com
> Ches at pentagon
> A baby or two for me, all but two says boys. Due date Sept.3rd.
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