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Tincture(heraldry)Wikipedia

Tincture(heraldry)
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Tincturesprovidethelimitedpaletteofcoloursandpatternsusedinheraldry.Theuseofthesetincturesdates
backtotheformativeperiodofEuropeanheraldry,inthetwelfthandthirteenthcenturies,buttherangeof
tincturesandthemannerofdepictinganddescribingthemhasevolvedovertime,asnewvariationsand
practiceshavedeveloped.Theneedtodefine,depict,andcorrectlyblazonthevarioustincturesisthereforeone
ofthemostimportantaspectsofheraldicartanddesign.

Contents
1 Definition
2 Developmentandhistory
3 Theheraldictinctures
3.1 Metals
3.2 Colours
3.3 Furs
3.4 Othertinctures
4 Proper
5 Depictingheraldictinctures
6 Hatchingandtricking
7 Frequencyandnationalvariants
8 Ruleoftincture
9 Blazon
10 Counterchangingandcountercolouring
11 Gemstone/planetblazoning
12 Footnotes
13 References
14 Bibliography
15 Externallinks

Summary:
There are "metals", silver and gold, painted as
white and yellow.
There are "colors", in conventional old-school
medieval heraldry: Red, blue, black and, to a
lesser extent, green.
There are "furs", mostly geometric patterns of
white and blue or black.
Don't paint a color over a color (red cross on
a blue background) or a metal over a metal
(white cross on yellow background), and
you'll be fine.

Definition
Thecoloursandpatternsoftheheraldicpalettearedividedintothreegroups,usuallyknownasmetals,colours,
andfurs.Initsoriginalsense,tincturerefersonlytothegroupconventionallyreferredtoas"colours".[1]Butas
theword"colour"seemsinapplicabletotheheraldicfurs,andnoothertermclearlyencompassesallthree
classes,theword"tincture"hascometobeusedinthisbroadersense,while"colour"hasacquiredthemore
restrictedsenseoriginallygivento"tincture".[2]Thus,whenconsultingvariousheraldicauthorities,caremust
betakentodeterminewhichmeaningeachtermisgiven.

Developmentandhistory
Thebasicschemeandrulesofapplyingtheheraldictincturesdatestotheformativeperiodofheraldry,during
thetwelfthandthirteenthcenturies.Bythetimeoftheearliestcolouredheraldicillustrations,inthemid
thirteenthcentury,theuseoftwometals,fivecolours,andtwofurshadbecomestandardized,andeversince
thattime,thegreatmajorityofheraldicarthasemployedtheseninetinctures.[3][4]
Overtime,variationsonthesebasictincturesweredeveloped,particularlywithrespecttothefurs,althoughthe
authoritiesdifferastowhethertheseshouldbeconsideredseparatetinctures,ormerelyvarietiesofexisting
ones.Twoadditionalcoloursappeared,andweregenerallyacceptedbyheraldicwriters,althoughthey
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remainedscarce,andwereeventuallytermedstains,fromthebeliefthattheywereusedtosignifysome
dishonouronthepartofthebearer.[5]Thepracticeofdepictingcertainchargesastheyappearinnature,termed
proper,wasestablishedbytheseventeenthcentury.Othercolourshaveappearedoccasionallysincethe
eighteenthcentury,especiallyincontinentalheraldry,buttheiruseisinfrequent,andtheyhaveneverbeen
regardedasparticularlyheraldic,ornumberedamongthetincturesthatformthebasisofheraldicdesign.[6][7]

Theheraldictinctures
IntheEnglishspeakingworld,heraldicterminologyisbasedlargelyonthatof
Britisharmory,whichinturnisbasedonNormanFrench.Withrespecttothe
heraldictinctures,Frenchheraldry,whichisoftencitedbyheraldicauthors,uses
similarterminologywhileGermanheraldry,alsohighlyinfluential,usesa
differentvocabularyitcallsthecoloursbytheireverydaynames.[i]

Metals
Themetalsareorandargent,representinggoldandsilver,respectively,although
inpracticetheyareoftendepictedasyellowandwhite.[1][2]
Or(Ger.Gelborgolden)[3]derivesitsnamefromtheLatinaurum,"gold".Itmay
bedepictedusingeitheryellowormetallicgold,attheartist'sdiscretion
"yellow"hasnoseparateexistenceinheraldry,andisneverusedtorepresentany
tinctureotherthanor.[1]
Argent(Ger.Weiss)[3]issimilarlyderivedfromtheLatinargentum,"silver".
Althoughsometimesdepictedasmetallicsilverorfaintgrey,itismoreoften
representedbywhite,inpartbecauseofthetendencyforsilverpainttooxidize
anddarkenovertime,[ii]andinpartbecauseofthepleasingeffectofwhite
againstacontrastingcolour.[1]Notwithstandingthewidespreaduseofwhitefor
argent,someheraldicauthoritieshavesuggestedtheexistenceofwhiteasa
distinctheraldiccolour.[8]

Colours
Fivecolourshavebeenrecognizedsincetheearliestdaysofheraldry.Theseare:gules,orredsable,orblack
azure,orbluevert,orgreenandpurpure,orpurple.Twomorewereeventuallyacknowledgedbymost
heraldicauthorities:sanguineormurrey,adarkredormulberrycolour,andtenn,anorangeordarkyellowto
brownishcolour.Theseweretermed"stains"bysomeofthemoreinfluentialheraldicwriters,andsupposedto
representsomesortofdishonouronthepartofthebearerbutinfactthereisnoevidencethattheywereeverso
employed,andtheyprobablyoriginatedasmerevariationsofexistingcolours.[5][9]Nevertheless,thebeliefthat
theyrepresentedstainsuponthehonourofanarmigerservedtopreventthemreceivingwidespreaduse,andit
isonlyinrecenttimesthattheyhavebeguntoappearonaregularbasis.[10]
Gules(Fr.gueules,Ger.Rot)[2][3]isofuncertainderivationoutsideoftheheraldiccontext,themodernFrench
wordreferstothemouthofananimal.[11]
Sable(Ger.Schwarz)[3]isnamedforatypeofmarten,knownforitsdark,luxuriantfur.[iii]
Azure(Fr.azurorbleu,Ger.Blau)[2][3]comesthroughtheArabiclzaward,fromthePersianlavardboth
referringtotheblueminerallapislazuli,usedtoproducebluepigments.
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Vert(Fr.vertorsinople,Ger.Grn)[2][3]isfromLatinviridis,"green".ThealternativenameinFrench,sinople,is
derivedfromtheancientcityofSinopeinAsiaMinor,whichwasfamousforitspigments.
Purpure(Fr.purpureorpourpre,Ger.Purpur)[2][3]isfromLatinpurpura,inturnfromGreekporphyra,thedye
knownasTyrianpurple.Thisexpensivedye,knownfromantiquity,producedamuchredderpurplethanthe
modernheraldiccolourandinfactearlierdepictionsofpurpurearefarredderthanrecentones.Asaheraldic
colour,purpuremayhaveoriginatedasavariationofgules.
SanguineorMurrey,fromLatinsanguineus,"bloodred",andGreekmorum,"mulberry",oneofthetwoso
called"stains"inBritisharmory,isadarkredormulberrycolour,betweengulesandpurpureinhue.[2]It
probablyoriginatedasamerevariationofoneofthosetwocolours,andmayinfactrepresenttheoriginalhue
ofpurpure,whichisnowtreatedasamuchbluercolourthanwhenitfirstappearedinheraldry.Althoughlong
shunnedinthebeliefthatitrepresentedsomedishonouronthepartofthebearer,[iv]ithasfoundsomeusein
thetwentiethandtwentyfirstcenturies.[v][10]
Tennortenny,fromLatintannare,"totan",isthesecondofthesocalled"stains".Itismostoftendepictedas
orange,butsometimesastawnyyelloworbrown.Inearliertimesitwasoccasionallyusedincontinental
heraldry,butinEnglandlargelyconfinedtolivery.[5][12]

Furs
Theuseofheraldicfursalongsidethemetalsandcoloursdatestothe
beginningoftheart.Inthisearliestperiod,therewereonlytwofurs,
ermineandvair.[vi]Erminerepresentsthefurofthestoat,atypeof
weasel,initswhitewintercoat,whenitiscalledanermine.Vair
representsthewintercoatoftheredsquirrel,whichisbluegreyabove
andwhitebelow.Thesefurswerecommonlyusedtolinethecloaksand
robesofthenobility.Bothermineandvairgivetheappearanceofbeing
acombinationofmetalandcolour,butinheraldicconventiontheyare
consideredaseparateclassoftincturethatisneithermetalnorcolour.
Overtime,severalvariationsofermineandvairhaveappeared,together
withthreeadditionalfurstypicallyencounteredincontinentalheraldry,
knownasplumet,papelonn,andkrsch,theoriginsofwhichare
moremysterious,butwhichprobablybeganasvariationsofvair.[13][14]

CanonsfromthechapterofBruges,
solemnwinterdressinfur

Ermine(Fr.hermine,Ger.hermelin)isnormallydepictedasawhitefieldpowderedwithblack
spots,knownas"erminespots",representingtheermine'sblacktail.Theuseofwhite
insteadofsilverisnormal,evenwhensilverisavailable,sincethisishowthefurnaturally
appearsbutoccasionallysilverisusedtodepictermine.[15]Traditionally,erminehasbeen
usedtolinethecloaksandrobesofvariousnobles,aswellasthechapeauxandcapsof
maintenancewornbypeers,andusedtolinecrownstheseappearbeneathmanycrestsin
placeofatorse.[16]
Thereisconsiderablevariationintheshapeoferminespotsintheoldestdepictions,theyweredrawn
realistically,aslong,taperingpointsinmoderntimestheyaretypicallydrawnasarrowheads,usuallytopped
bythreesmalldots[vii]butaswithotherdetails,theformusedislefttotheheraldicartist.Erminespotsare
consideredpartofthetinctureknownasermine,ratherthanchargesbutthesameshapecanalsobeusedasa
chargeuponothertinctures.[15]InEnglishheraldry,asingleerminespothasbeenusedasamarkofdifference
when,byroyallicence,onepersonassumesthenamesandarmsofanother,intheabsenceofanyblood
relationship.[17]Erminespotsarenormallydepictedupright,exceptonabend,whentheyaredepicted
bendwise.[18]
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Britisharmoryrecognizesthreevariationsofermine.Ablackfieldpowderedwithwhiteerminespotsistermed
ermines(Fr.contrehermine,Ger.gegenhermelin)agoldfieldwithblackerminespotsiserminois,andablackfield
withgolderminespotsispean.[viii][15][17]Thesearenotregardedasseparatefurs,butmerelyvariationsof
ermine.NeithererminoisnorpeanareknownbydistinctivenamesoutsideofBritisharmoryinsteadtheyare
regardedasafieldsemoferminespots.InFrenchheraldry,erminoiswouldbeblazonedd'Or,sem
d'herminesdesable,whilepeanwouldbedeSable,semd'herminesd'or.[ix]Especiallyincontinentalheraldry,
afieldofanytincturemaybesemoferminespots,producingapatternindistinguishablefromermine,except
byvirtueofthetincturesusedbuttheseshouldbetreatedasotherfieldssem,ratherthanheraldicfurs.[15]

Ermine

Ermines

Erminois

Pean

Vair(Ger.Feh)derivesitsnamefromLatinvarius,"variegated".Itis
usuallydepictedasaseriesofalternatingshapes,conventionallyknown
aspanesor"vairbells",ofargentandazure,arrangedinhorizontal
rows,sothatthepanesofonetinctureformtheupperpartoftherow,
whilethoseoftheoppositetinctureareonthebottomare.[x]Succeeding
rowsarestaggered,sothatthebasesofthepanesmakingupeachrow
areoppositethoseoftheothertinctureintherowsaboveandbelow.As
withermine,theargentpanesmaybedepictedaseitherwhiteorsilver
silverisusedmoreoftenwithvairthanwithermine,butthenaturalfur
iswhite.Intheearliestperiodofheraldry,vairwasdepictedby
alternatingstraightandwavyornebulylinestodaythisformisknown
asvairondorvairancien(Ger.Wolkenfeh,"cloudvair").[xi]Througha
seriesofintermediateforms,thepanesevolvedtheirmodernshape,
consistingentirelyofstraightlinesandsharpanglesbuttheheraldic
artistisnormallyatlibertytouseanyoftheseforms.[19][20]
Traditionallyvairwasproducedinthreesizes,andeachsizecametobe
depictedinarmory.Afieldconsistingofonlythreerows,representing
thelargestsize,wastermedgrosvairorbeffroi(fromthesamerootas
theEnglishwordbelfry)vairoffourrowswassimplyvair,whileif
thereweresixrows,representingthesmallestsize,itwasmenuvair
(whencetheEnglishwordminiver).Thisdistinctionisnotgenerally
observedinEnglishheraldry,andisnotstrictlyobservedincontinental
heraldry,althoughinFrenchheraldryitiscustomarytospecifythe
numberofrowsiftherearemorethanfour.[19][20]

Vairusedtolineacloak.Enamel
fromthetombofGeoffrey
Plantagenet,CountofAnjou,oneof
theearliestdepictionsofmodern
heraldry.

Thereareseveralvarietiesofvairconsistingentirelyofalternate
arrangementsoftherows.Themostfamiliariscountervair(Fr.contre
vair),inwhichsucceedingrowsarereversedinsteadofstaggered,sothatthebasesofthepanesofeachtincture
areoppositethoseofthesametinctureinadjoiningrows.Lesscommonisvairinpale(Fr.vairenpalorvair
appoint,Ger.Pfahlfeh),inwhichthepanesofeachtincturearearrangedinverticalcolumns.InGerman
heraldryonefindsStrzpfahlfeh,orreversedvairinpale.Vairinbend(Fr.vairenbande)andvairinbend
sinister(Fr.vairenbarre),inwhichthepanesarearrangedindiagonalrows,isfoundincontinentalheraldry.
Vairinpoint(Fr.vairenpointe,Ger.Wogenfeh,"wavevair")isformedbyreversingalternaterows,asin
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countervair,andthendisplacingthembyhalfthewidthofapane,forminganundulatingpatternacross
adjoiningrows.GermanheraldryalsousesaformcalledWechselfeh,or"alternatevair",inwhicheachpaneis
dividedinhalfalongaverticalline,onesidebeingargentandtheotherazure.[19][20]
Whenthepatternofvairisusedwithothercolours,thefieldistermedvairorvairy[xii]ofthetincturesused.
Normallyvairconsistsofonemetalandonecolour,althoughermineoroneofitsvariantsissometimesused,
withanerminespotappearingineachpaneofthattincture.Vairoffourcolours(Ger.Buntfeh,"gaycoloured"
or"checkedvair")isalsoknown,usuallyconsistingoftwometalsandtwocolours.[19][20]
Anothertypeofvariationisknownaspotent[xiii](Ger.Sturzkrckenfeh,"upsidedowncrutchvair").Inthis
form,thefamiliar"vairbell"isreplacedbyaTshapedfigure,knownasa"potent"duetoitsresemblancetoa
crutch.Theappearanceofthisshapeisthoughtbysomeauthoritiestohaveoriginatedfromcrude
draftsmanship,althoughothersregarditasanoldandperfectlyacceptablevariation.Aregularlyencountered
variationofpotentiscounterpotentorpotentcounterpotent(Ger.Gegensturzkrckenfeh),whichisproduced
inthesamefashionascountervairpotentinpoint(Ger.VerschobenesGegensturzkrckenfeh,"displaced
counterpotent")isalsofound.Thereisnoreasonwhyonecouldnothavepotentinpale,potentinbend,
alternatepotent,orpotentoffourcolours.Thesamepatternusingothertincturesthanargentandazureis
termedpotentorpotentyofthosecolours.[19][20]
Threeotherfurssometimesencounteredincontinentalheraldryarethoughttobederivedfromvair:inplumet
orplumetty,thepanesaredepictedasfeathersandinpapelonnorpapellonytheyaredepictedasscales,
resemblingthoseofabutterfly'swings,whencethenameisderived.InGermanheraldrythereisafurknownas
Krsch,or"vairbellies",consistingofpanesdepictedhairyandbrown.[19][20]Herethephrase"vairbellies"
maybeamisnomer,asthebellyoftheredsquirrelisalwayswhite,althoughitssummercoatisindeedreddish
brown.

Vair(asusually
depictedin
Britisharmory)

Vair(asusually
depictedin
Frencharmory)

Vairinpoint

Menuvair

Vairorand
gules

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Countervair

Potent

Vairinpale

Perfesspotent
argentandgules

Azure,afess
argentdouble
cotisedpotent
counterpotentor

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Plumetorand
sable

Gules,papelonn
or

Krsch

Krsch

Othertinctures
Severalothertincturesareoccasionallymetwith,usuallyincontinentalheraldry:
Cendre,or"ashcolour"[xiv]
Bruntre(Ger.Braun),orbrown,occasionallyusedinGermanheraldry,inplaceofpurpure[xv]
Bleuclesteorbleudeciel,askybluecolourintendedtobelighterthanazure[xvi]
Amaranthorcolumbine,astrongvioletred,foundinatleastonegrantofarmstoaBohemianknightin
1701
Eisenfarbe,orironcolour,foundinGermanheraldryand
Carnation,oftenusedinFrenchheraldryasthecolourofflesh.
TheheraldicscholarA.C.FoxDaviesproposedthat,insomecircumstances,whiteshouldbeconsidereda
heraldiccolour,distinctfromargent.Inanumberofinstances,alabelorcollarblazonedas"white"ratherthan
"argent"appearsonasupporterblazonedargentoror.Theuseof"white"inplaceof"argent"wouldbe
consistentwiththepracticeofheraldicblazonthatdiscouragesrepeatingthenameofatinctureindescribinga
coatofarms,butifitweremerelyintendedasasynonymof"argent",thisplacementwouldclearlyviolatethe
ruleagainstplacingmetalonmetalorcolouroncolour(seebelow).Thisdifficultyisavoidedif"white"is
consideredacolourinthisparticularinstance,ratherthanasynonymof"argent".[21]Thisinterpretationhas
neitherbeenacceptednorrefutedbyanyheraldicauthority,butacounterargumentisthatthelabelsarenot
intendedtorepresentaheraldictincture,butareinfactwhitelabelsproper.[22]
Otherexceptionalcolourshaveoccasionallyappearedduringthetwentiethandtwentyfirstcenturies:
ThearmsoftheJewishAutonomousRegioninRussiahaveafieldofaquamarine,whichisemblazonedmore
asakindofdarkgreenthanatrueaquamarinecolour.
TheCanadianHeraldicAuthoritygrantedarmscontainingroseasacolourin1997.[xvii]In2002,theAuthority
grantedarmsincludingcopper,treatedasametal,tothemunicipalityofWhitehorse,Yukon.
Ochre,bothredandyellow,appearsinSouthAfricanheraldrythenationalcoatofarms,adoptedin2000,
includesredochre,while(yellow)ochreappearsinthearmsoftheUniversityofTranskei.[23][24]
IntheUnitedStates,heraldryisnotgovernedbyanyofficialauthoritybuttheUnitedStatesArmy,which
makesextensiveuseofheraldry,doeshaveitsownauthority,theUnitedStatesArmyInstituteofHeraldry.The
armorialdesignsoftheInstituteofHeraldryincludeanumberofnoveltinctures,includingbuff(employed
variouslyaseitherametaloracolour),[25]andhorizonblue.[26]Silvergrayhasappearedintheheraldryofboth
theArmyandtheAirForce.[27][28]BronzeappearsasacolourinthearmsoftheSpecialTroopsBattalionofthe
2ndBrigade,1stCavalryDivision.[29]Thereseemstobesomeconfusionaboutthecolourcrimson,asinsome
casesitistreatedasaseparatetincture,whileinothersitisusedtospecifytheshadeofgulestobeemployed
bytheartist.[30]Differingfrommostheraldicpractice,theInstituteofHeraldryoftenspecifiestheexactshades
tobeusedindepictingvariousarms.
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Proper
Achargethatiscolouredasitnaturallyappearsisblazonedproper(Fr.propre),or"thecolourofnature".[31][32]
Strictlyspeaking,properisnotatinctureinitself,andif,asissometimesthecase,achargeismeanttobe
depictedinparticularcoloursthatarenotapparentfromtheword"proper"alone,theymaybespecifiedin
whateverdetailisnecessary.[xviii][31][32]Certainchargesareconsidered"proper"whenportrayedwithparticular
colours,eventhougharangeofdifferentcoloursisfoundinnatureforinstance,apopinjayproperisgreen,
eventhoughwildparrotsoccurinavarietyofcolours.Insomecases,achargedepictedinaparticularsetof
coloursmaybereferredtoas"proper",eventhoughitconsistsentirelyofheraldictincturesaroseproper,
whetherredorwhite,isbarbedvertandseededor.[33]
Themostextensiveuseofnonheraldiccoloursisprobablyassociatedwith"landscapeheraldry",acommon
featureofBritishandGermanarmoryduringthelatterpartoftheeighteenthcentury,andtheearlypartofthe
nineteenth.Althoughrarelyusedforthefielditself,landscapeswereoftengrantedasaugmentations,typically
depictingafortresssuccessfullycapturedordefended,oraparticularship,orabattleinwhichthearmigerto
whomtheaugmentationwasgrantedwasinvolved.Suchlandscapes,usuallyappearingonachief,mightbe
blazonedwithgreatparticularityastothethingsportrayedandthecoloursusedtoportraythem.Officially,
theselandscapesappearedonafieldofargent,butitwascommon,andperhapsexpected,fortheartisttoadd
furtherdetails,suchastheskyandclouds,bywhichthefieldmightbewhollyobscured.Theuseoflandscapes
inheraldryfelloutoffashionduringtheVictorianera,whenheraldicscholarsandartistsbeganlookingto
earlierandsimplerperiodsofarmorialdesignforinspiration.[34]

Depictingheraldictinctures
Inmostheraldictradition,thevariousmetalsandcolourshavenofixedappearance,hue,orshade.Theheraldic
artistisfreetochoosealighterordarkerblueorgreen,adeeperorbrighterredtochoosebetweendepictingor
withyelloworanyofvariousgoldpaints,todepictargentaswhiteorsilver.[35]RecentlytheCollegeofArms
explained,"therearenofixedshadesforheraldiccolours.Iftheofficialdescriptionofacoatofarmsgivesits
tincturesasGules(red),Azure(blue)andArgent(whiteorsilver)then,aslongastheblueisnottoolightand
therednottooorange,purpleorpink,itisuptotheartisttodecidewhichparticularshadestheythinkare
appropriate."[10]

Hatchingandtricking
Duringthefirsthalfoftheseventeenthcentury,theproliferationoftheprintingpresscoupledwiththe
persistenceofdifficultiesinandexpenseofcolourprintingpromptedthedevelopmentofanumberofsystems
ofhatchingforthepurposeofdepictingheraldicdesignswithouttheuseofcolour.Intendedchieflyforprinting
andengraving,thesystemwhicheventuallygainedwidespreadacceptancewasthatofSilvestrodePetra
Sancta,aJesuitpriestandheraldicscholar,originallypublishedin1638.[36]
InPetraSancta'smethod,illustratedinthetableabove,aseparatehatchingrepresentseachmetalandcolour,
whilethefursaretreatedascombinationsofmetalandcolour.Argentisrepresentedbyaplainfield,whileoris
representedbyafieldstrewnwithdots.Gulesisrepresentedbyverticallines,azurebyhorizontallines,and
sablebyacombinationofhorizontalandverticallines.Diagonallinesrunningfromdexterchieftosinisterbase
representvert,whilepurpureisthereverse,representedbydiagonallinesrunningfromsinisterchieftodexter
base.Sanguineisrepresentedbydiagonallinesrunningineachdirection,whiletennisrepresentedbya
combinationofhorizontallinesanddiagonallinesrunningfromsinisterchieftodexterbase.[37]
Nineadditionalhatchings,publishedbyMarcusVulsondelaColombirein1639,wereintendedtorepresent
othercolours,althoughnoneofthemcorrespondwithregularheraldictinctures,andtheyhaveneverbeenused
inBritisharmory.Acombinationofverticallineswithdiagonallinesrunningfromdexterchieftosinisterbase
representsbrownbloodredisrepresentedbyverticallinescombinedwithdiagonallinesrunningfromsinister
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chieftodexterbaseearthcolourbyhorizontalandverticallinescombinedwithdiagonallinesrunningfrom
dexterchieftosinisterbaseirongreybydiagonallinesrunningineachdirection(thesameassanguinein
PetraSancta'ssystem)watercolourbybrokenhorizontallinesfleshcolourbybrokenverticallinesashen
greybyacombinationofbrokenhorizontalandbrokendiagonallinesorangebybrokenverticallines
interspersedwithdotsandthecolourofnaturebyzigzaglinesrunningfromdexterchieftosinisterbase.[37]
Beforetheuseofhatchingtodepictindividualheraldictinctures,itwascommonto"trick"heraldicdesigns
whencolourswereunavailable.Thearmswouldbedrawninoutline,andthetinctureswritteninabbreviated
form:OororfororA,ar,orargforargent,GorguforgulesSorsaforsableAzorBforazure(Bfor"blue"
beingusedinoldertrickingstoavoidconfusionbetweenarandaz)Vtforvert,Purpforpurpure,andPrfor
proper.AlthoughmostrecordsoftheCollegeofArmsareincolour,thepracticeoftrickingisusedinallother
cases,evenafterthewidespreadadoptionofhatchingforprintingandengravingarms.[3][38]
Frenchheraldryalsousestrickingtodepictheraldictinctures,usingOfororAforargentGforgulesSfor
sableBforbleu(toavoidconfusingazurwithargent)Vforvert(toavoidconfusingsinoplewithsable)Pfor
purpureorpourpreandPrforpropre.[3]
InGermanheraldry,Gisusedforgelb(gold)Wforweiss(white)Rforrot(red)Sforschwarz(black)Bfor
blau(blue)andGr,orashapelikeanuprightleaf,forgrn(green)Germanheraldrymakeslittleuseof
purpure,butinitsplaceallowsBrforbraun(brown).Theseabbreviationsmaybeeithercapitalizedor
lowercase.[3]

Frequencyandnationalvariants
Thefrequencywithwhichdifferenttinctureshavebeenusedovertimehasbeenmuchobserved,butlittle
studied.Thereare,however,somegeneraltrendsofnote,bothwithrespecttothepassageoftime,andnoted
preferencesfromoneregiontoanother.
Inmedievalheraldry,guleswasbyfarthemostcommontincture,followedbythemetalsargentandor,atleast
oneofwhichnecessarilyappearedonthemajorityofarms(seebelow).Amongthecolours,sablewasthe
secondmostcommon,followedbyazurevert,althoughpresentfromtheformativeperiodofheraldicdesign,
wasrelativelyscarce.[3][39]Overtime,thepopularityofazureincreasedabovethatofsable,whilegules,still
themostcommon,becamelessdominant.AsurveyofFrencharmsgrantedduringtheseventeenthcentury
revealsadistinctsplitbetweenthetrendsforthearmsgrantedtonoblesandcommoners.Amongnobles,gules
remainedthemostcommontincture,closelyfollowedbyor,thenbyargentandazureatnearlyequallevels
sablewasaverydistantfifthchoice,whilevertremainedscarce.Amongcommoners,azurewaseasilythemost
commontincture,followedbyor,andonlythenbygules,argent,andsable,whichwasusedmoreby
commonersthanamongthenobilityvert,however,wasevenscarcerincommonarms.[39]Purpureissoscarce
inFrenchheraldrythatsomeauthoritiesdonotregarditasa"realheraldictincture".[40]
Onthewhole,Frenchheraldryisknownforitsuseofazureandor,whileEnglishheraldryischaracterizedby
heavyuseofgulesandargent,andunlikeFrenchheraldry,ithasalwaysmaderegularuseofvert,and
occasional,ifnotextensive,useofpurpure.Germanheraldryisknownforitsextensiveuseoforandsable.[3]
GermanandNordicheraldryrarelymakeuseofpurpureorermine,exceptinmantling,pavilions,andthelining
ofcrownsandcaps.[41]Infact,fursoccurinfrequentlyinGermanandNordicheraldry.[42]

Ruleoftincture
Thefirstsocalled"rule"ofheraldryistheruleoftincture:metalshouldnotbeplaceduponmetal,norcolour
uponcolour,forthesakeofcontrast.

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Themaindutyofaheraldicdeviceistoberecognized,andthedarkcoloursorlightmetalsaresupposedtobe
toodifficulttodistinguishiftheyareplacedontopofotherdarkorlightcolours,particularlyinpoorlight.
Thoughthisisthepracticalgenesisoftherule,theruleistechnicalandappearanceisnotusedindetermining
whetherarmsconformtotherule.Anotherreasonsometimesgiventojustifythisruleisthatitwasdifficultto
paintwithenamel(colour)overenamel,orwithmetalovermetal.
This"rule"hasattimesbeenfollowedsopedanticallythatarmsthatviolateitwerecalledarmesfausses(false
arms)orarmesenqurir(armsofenquiry)anyviolationwaspresumedtobeintentional,tothepointthatone
wassupposedtoenquirehowitcametopass.Oneofthemostfamousarmesenqurir(oftensaidtobethe
onlyexample)wastheshieldoftheKingdomofJerusalem,whichhadgoldcrossesonsilver.Thisuseofmetal
onmetal,thatistosaywhiteandgoldtogether,isseenonthearmsoftheKingofJerusalem,theflagandarms
oftheVatican,andthebishop'smitreinthearmsofAndorra.Itindicatestheexceptionalholyandspecialstatus
oftheCoatofArms.Anexampleof"colouroncolour"isthearmsofAlbania,withitssabletwoheadedeagle
onagulesfield.
The"ruleoftincture"hashadaninfluencereachingfarbeyondheraldry.Ithasbeenappliedtothedesignof
flags,sothattheflagofSaxeWeimarEisenachwasmodifiedtoconformtotherule.[43]

Blazon
Mostheraldicauthorsdonotcapitalizethenamesofthevarioustinctures,althoughafewdo(sometimes
inconsistently),andsomewhodonotcapitalizetheothertincturesrecommendcapitalizing"or"inorderto
avoidconfusionwiththeconjunction.However,therearerelativelyfewoccasionsinwhichtheconjunction
"or"wouldappearintheblazonofacoatofarmsandifproperlyworded,whichmeaningisintendedshouldbe
readilyapparentfromthecontext.[3][44][45][46][47][48][49]Anotherconventionhasbeentocapitalizeonlythefirst
wordorthefirsttinctureappearingintheblazon,butnootherwords.[50]Intheelaboratecalligraphyappearing
onmostgrantsofarms,allofthetincturesarecapitalized,asindeedarethenamesofthechargesbutthisis
purelyamatterofdecorativestyle,andinnowaydoesthemannerofcapitalizationusedintheoriginalgrant
affecthowthearmsmaybedescribedonotheroccasions.
Alongstandingheraldictraditionhasbeentoavoidrepeatingthenamesoftincturesmultipletimesinany
givenblazon.Ifitispossibletomentionmultiplechargesofthesametinctureatonce,followedbythenameof
thetincture,thenthisproblemisavoidedbutwhenitisimpossibletocombineelementsofthesametincturein
thismanner,morecreativedescriptionsmaybeused.Forexample,insteadof"gules,onafessorbetweenthree
chessrooksargent,alionpassantgules,armedandlanguedargent",onemightsay,"gules,onafessorbetween
threechessrooksargent,alionpassantofthefield,armedandlanguedofthethird."Similarphrasesinclude"of
thelast"and"ofthelike".Alternately,descriptionssuchas"gold"and"silver"mightbesubstitutedfor"or"and
"argent"onasubsequentoccurrence.Anotherruleofblazonrelatingtotincturessuggeststheplacingofa
commaaftereachoccurrenceofatincture.[51]
Inrecentyears,theCollegeofArmshasregularlydispensedwithmanyofthesepractices,believingthemto
causeconfusionandinnewgrantsofarms,thenamesoftincturesarerepeatedoneachinstancethatthey
occur.Thenamesofalltincturesandchargesarecapitalized,althoughtheword"proper",indicatingthecolour
ofnature,isnotandinternalcommasareentirelyomitted.

Counterchangingandcountercolouring
Whenachargeisplacedacrossadivisionline,variation,orordinary,itmaybecounterchanged,meaningthat
thechargeisdividedthesamewayasthefieldbehindit,withthecoloursreversed.However,somepatterns,
suchaschequy,donotpermitchargesoverthemtobetreatedthisway.

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InthearmsofBehnsdorf,seenatright,thefieldisdividedwiththeleft
halfwhite(argent)andtherighthalfgreen(vert),andthe
counterchangedtreeisgreenwhereitliesonthewhitepartofthefield,
andwhitewhereitliesonthegreenpartofthefield.
TheflagofMarylandisanotherexampleofcounterchanging.Theonly
U.S.stateflagtobedirectlybasedonEnglishheraldry,itisthearmsof
GeorgeCalvert,1stBaronBaltimore,whofoundedthecolonyof
Marylandin1632.Inthe1stand4thquarters,thefieldisdividedinto
sixverticalbandsofgold(or)andblack(sable)withadiagonalband(a
bend)inwhichthecoloursarereversed(i.e.,thebendis
counterchanged).The2ndand3rdquartersarethemselvesquartered
betweenwhite(argent)andred(gules)withacounterchangedcross
bottonythatisredwhereitliesonthewhitepartofthefieldandwhite
whereitliesontheredpartofthefield.
Ashieldwhichisgreenontheupperhalfandsilveronthelower,
chargedatthecentrewithalionwhoseupperhalfissilverandlower
halfgreen,wouldbeblazoned:Perfessvertandargent,alion
counterchanged.

ArmsofBehnsdorf:"perpaleArgent
andVertatiliaeradicated
counterchanged"

InScotsheraldry,achargemaybeblazonedascounterchangedof
differentcoloursfromthefielde.g.,Perfessgulesandazure,asunin
splendourcounterchangedOrandofthefirst.InEnglishheraldry,this
wouldbedescribedasPerfessgulesandazure,asuninsplendourper
fessOrandofthefirst.
Similarlytocounterchanging,ifmultiplechargesappearintwo
TheflagofMarylandisanexample
opposingdivisionsofthefield,theymaybeblazonedcountercoloured,
ofcounterchanging.
meaningthatthechargesinadivisionofthefieldbearthecolourofthe
opposingdivisionofthefield.AnexamplemaybeseenintheFenwick
arms,blazonedoriginallyassilver[sic,ratherthantheexpectedargent]achiefguleswithsixmartlets
countercoloured,[52]inwhichthechiefgulesbearsthreemartletsargentandthebaseargentcorrespondingly
bearsthreemartletsgules.

Gemstone/planetblazoning
DuringthelatemedievalperiodandRenaissance,therewasanoccasionalpracticeofblazoningtincturesby
gemstones,orbyreferencestothesevenclassical"planets"(includingSunandMoon),assummarizedinthe
tablesbelow:[53]
Tincture Planet Gemstone
Or

Sun

Topaz

Argent

Moon

Pearl

Azure

Jupiter

Sapphire

Gules

Mars

Ruby

Stain
Tenn

Lunarnode Gemstone
Dragon'sHead

Jacinth

Sanguine/Murrey Dragon'sTail Sardonyx

Purpure Mercury Amethyst


Vert

Venus

Emerald

Sable

Saturn

Diamond

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Footnotes
i.SpanishandDutchheraldry,incommonwithEnglish,alsouseterminologyderivedfromNormanFrenchwhile
Italianheraldry,likeGerman,useseverydaynamesforthecolours.
ii.Atonepoint,aluminumpaintwasusedforargent,asitwasmoreresistanttooxidationbutitseffectalsofadedwith
age.
iii.Despitetheoriginofthename,sableisalwaysregardedasacolour,ratherthanafur.
iv.Arareexceptionofsanguineinolderheraldry,citedbyWoodwardandBurnett,werethearmsoftheClayhillsof
Invergowrie:perbendsanguineandvert,twogreyhoundscourantbendwaysargent.
v.Forinstance,thearmsofLewesOldGrammarSchool,grantedOctober25,2012:"MurreywithinanOrleofeight
CrossescrossletArgentaLionrampantOrholdingintheforepawsaBookboundAzurethespineandtheedgesof
thepagesGold"andthoseofWoolf,grantedOctober2,2015:"MurreyaSnowWolf'sHeaderasedproperonaChief
ArgentaBoar'sHeadcopedattheneckbetweentwoFleursdeLysAzure."
vi.Althoughsableisalsonamedafterthedarkpeltofatypeofmarten,ithasalwaysbeenregardedasacolour,rather
thanafur.
vii.Aninterpretationofthisshapeisthatthebaseoftheerminespotrepresentsthreetuftsoffur,converginginapointat
thetop,whichisattachedtothewhitesurfacebythreestuds.
viii.Anadditionalvariation,knownaserminites,issaidtobethesameasermine,butwitharedhaironeachsideofthe
erminespotsbutnoexamplesareknownineitherBritishorcontinentalheraldry,soitappearstobenothingmore
thanthefancifulinventionofheraldicwriters.
ix.Thetermsherminaisandpanmayberecentinventions.
x.Usagevariesastowhetherthepanesintheupperpartofeachrowshouldbeargentorazure.Thereisnorule,but
followingthereasoningthatmetalsaremore"honourable"thancolours,theleadingauthoritiessuggestthatargent
shouldcomefirst.ThisistheusualpracticeinFrenchheraldry,butinBritisharmorythetoprowisusuallyazure.
xi.Aswithmanyheraldicterms,theNormanFrenchspellingiscommonlyused,eveninEnglishheraldrybutthe
Anglicizedform,vairancient,isalsofound.
xii.Sometimes,inolderauthorities,varryorverry.
xiii.Occasionally,varrycuppy.
xiv.AschauofBavaria:Cendre,amountofthreecoupeauxinbase,or.GwiltofSouthWales:Argent,alionrampant
sable,thehead,paws,andhalfofthetailashcolour.
xv.MieroszewskyofSilesia:deBruntre,acrosspateargentsupportingaravenrisingsable,andholdinginitsbeaka
horseshoeproper,itspointstowardsthechief.
xvi.Cinti(nowCini)ofFlorence:Perpaleazureandbleucelesteanestoilecounterchanged.
xvii.ArmsofKimCampbell,19thPrimeMinisterofCanada:Ortheuniversalsymbolforawomanpendantfromits
crosspieceapairofscalesRoseandinbasethreebarswavyAzureonacantonthemarkofthePrimeMinistership
ofCanada.
xviii.Forexample,"adapplegreyhorseproper,themaneandtailsable,andbothhindfeetwhite".

References
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16.FoxDavies,ACompleteGuidetoHeraldry,pp.378382.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture_(heraldry)

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Bibliography
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FoxDavies,A.C.(1909).ACompleteGuidetoHeraldry(http://openlibrary.org/details/completeguideto
h00foxdrich).(2004edition)Whitefish,MT:KessengerPublishing.ISBN1417906308LCCN09
23803(https://lccn.loc.gov/09023803)

Externallinks
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