Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heraldry

Every poem is a coat of arms. It must be deciphered. How much blood, how many tears in exchange for these axes, these muzzles, these unicorns, these torches, these towers, these martlets, these seedlings of stars and these fields of blue!
~Jean Cocteau


Coats of arms this Thursday. Did you know you can make your own? I was interested to see various mythical animals in the designs. Lions and eagles are also extremely popular.

The American College of Heraldry explains that a unicorn symbolizes "Extreme courage; virtue and strength," eagles indicate a "Person of noble nature, strength, bravery, and alertness...if wings 'displayed,' it signifies protection," and lions "Dauntless courage." If there's anything else you'd like to look up, you can see the symbol chart here.

Moscow coat of arms, 1781

Namibia coat of arms, 1963-80

Schwarzenberg coat of arms, Sedlec Ossuary (Yes, it's made of bones!)
photo by Nick Hull

Coat of Arms, Church of St Barbara, Czech Republic
photo by Dmitri Shakin

Imperial Eagle of the German Empire, 1889-1918

The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom on the main gate of Buckingham Palace
photo by fmpgoh

Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, used 1939-1978

The coat of arms of Kazakhstan (above, you see when it was part of the USSR)

Coat of Arms in Prague, Czech Republic
photo by Steve Minor

Coat of arms of Pope Francis

Links:

International heraldry has detailed information about the meanings of coats of arms
The Heraldic Dictionary
Blazonry for Beginners
An Art Thursday post inspired by fencing


2 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

I don't remember much anymore, so thank you for giving some of the links, but I used to have my students design their own as an art and personal reflection project, Tabatha. They were good to do, a thoughtful way to show oneself. Interesting about the lion and the unicorn for Britain. I looked it up & it changed slightly when they united with Ireland. The first evidence, acc. to Wikipedia, of coats of arms is with the knights in the 12th century. Today, the article said, some are still protected by copyright, & cannot be used without permission. Interesting post!

HWY said...

Heralds announce what or who is coming...and these certainly do let one know in a variety of ways.

Some are beautiful, some are stark, and some approach spookiness (the bones one, for example).

Very interesting theme, today. Enjoyed it!