Blazonry is a special language used to describe heraldic shields. It was created in
the middle ages by heralds to help them in their work
of creating, cataloging and discussing the designs used on shields and other items.
Why do we need a special language? What is wrong with saying "the blue shield with a yellow band"
or the "stripey red and green one with a black lion standing up"? The key reason is precision.
Does the band run across the middle or from to bottom? Is the first stripe red or green? Does the lion have its
paws raised, and which way is it looking? The language of blazonry allows us to answer all of these questions
clearly and unambiguously. Give two heraldic artists the same blazon and they will both draw what is the recognisably
the same shield. There might be minor stylistic differences but they will clearly be
the same "Coat of arms".
Why should you learn blazonry? Well, coats of arms appear in hue number of places - on buildings,
in documents, on product packaging, in logos and in TV shows and movies! Learning blazonry will let
you spot the common features between arms, you'll be able to discuss and understand arms with others
in the field, and the subject is interesting in its own right. And, best of all, you will be able
to enter blazons into DrawShield and create your own coats of arms images!
The language may seem strange at first, it is a curious mixture of French words pronounced in English,
mediaeval words that are otherwise long out of use and the odd bit of Latin. However, the language is completely logical and
consistent - once you learn a term it means the same thing wherever it is used. And you can describe
and create interesting coats of arms with just a few key terms, so you can start small and build up your
knowledge over time. Along the way you will learn a lot of history, something about art and enter into
something that can become a lifelong hobby!
Take the first step by going on to the next page...
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