[ANSTHRLD] chain mail in armory

tmcd@panix.com tmcd at panix.com
Tue Mar 21 16:40:17 PST 2006

On Tue, 21 Mar 2006, Hedwig von Luneborg <lochherald at gmail.com> wrote:
> Sable an anvil argent supporting chain mail Or and a hammer proper (silver
> head wooden handle) with the big dipper in dexter cheif argent
> (I know this description isn't heraldicly correct...)
> basically he wants an anvil with some 4 on 1 chain mail laying across it and
> propped up on the corner the hammer with the head up
> he also wants 7 mullets with 5 points in the shape of the big dipper to the
> Dexter chief (close to that corner but not in it).

Thanks for the plain English description.

> Now, I know this is not going to work exactly as is...but I want to
> know if the chain mail is OK in and of its self and if it is can it
> be a metal on a metal anvil?  I found three registered devices in
> the O&A with chain mail but they are all pre-1990...

Constellations have long been cause for return.  The most recent
compiled precedent:

    [Argent mullety azure ...] The strewn mullets need to be redrawn. Strewn
    charges need to be distributed evenly over the field. While the strewing need
    not be done with geometrical precision, the overall effect should be an even
    strewing of mullets. Here, due to the small size of the mullets in combination
    with their uneven placement, the mullets appear to be an attempt to represent
    some particular constellation of stars. This is reason for return, as noted in
    past precedent: "[The submittor] must draw the upper portion of the field
    properly as mulletty, i.e., more evenly distributed. As drawn now, the design
    looks more like an attempt to depict a constellation ... which is not
    permitted as a charge in Society heraldry." (LoAR 28 December 1986, p.9).
    [Dáire de Haya, 09/02, R-Ansteorra]

I don't know of heraldic terms to describe mail draped over another
object, or of heraldic terms to describe propping up a hammer (at a
slight angle, perhaps?) on the corner of something else.  Difficulty
in blazon is generally an indication of non-heraldic style, and this
is no heraldic style I've seen.

Note also RfS VIII.4.c:

    c.  Natural Depiction - Excessively naturalistic use of otherwise
     acceptable charges may not be registered.

     Excessively natural designs include those that depict animate
     objects in unheraldic postures, use several charges in their
     natural forms when heraldic equivalents exist, or overuse
     proper. ...

Except for the constellation, this looks like pictorial heraldry,
which is cause for return by RfS VIII.4.a:

    a.  Pictorial Design - Overly pictorial designs may not be

     Design elements should not be combined to create a picture of a
     scene or landscape.  For example, combining a field divided "per
     fess wavy azure and Or" with a sun and three triangles Or, as
     well as a camel and two palm trees proper to depict the Nile
     Valley would not be acceptable.

"My life on my arms" is not cause for return, but is often deprecated
on style grounds.

Depending on the exact positioning, I'm not sure whether the coat of
mail on the anvil would be a metal-on-metal problem or not.

It might be possible to remove this, change that, tweak the other
... but I would instead ask such a submitter to look at period
heraldry to see the sorts of styles they had, and design based on

Danet de Linccolne
Tim McDaniel; Reply-To: tmcd at panix.com

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