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Last updated 14 May, 2006

The Blazon

Coats of arms and their accessories are described using a concise formal description called a blazon. The syntax and terminology is very exact to precisely define the arms. The blazon ignores details which are conventional and also the artistic style in which the arms are drawn, so that a given coat-of-arms may be drawn in many different ways.

To ensure that the pictures people draw after reading the descriptions are accurate and reasonably alike, blazons follow a set of rules:

1      Describe the partition of the field if any partition is used.

2      Name the tincture of the field if not partitioned. Otherwise, list the tinctures used in the partitions, in the order that they are used, from left to right or from top to bottom.

3      Name the principal charges or devices on the field, if any, followed by the tincture of the charge. The position of the charge is assumed to be the fess point unless otherwise specified. The charges are described from the shield's top to the base and from dexter to sinister.

4      Name any secondary charges on the field and their tinctures.

5      Name any secondary charges on the principal charges and their tinctures.

6      Adjectives tend to follow the noun they modify; tinctures are mentioned last and capitalized; punctuation is omitted.



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