clears of charges

List of heraldic charges

This article does not cover those charges which derive their shape in part from that of the field; see Ordinary (heraldry).

"Subordinary" charges

A few simple charges are traditionally, and arbitrarily, classified among the subordinaries. (All other mobile charges are called common charges.)

A lozenge is a rhombus, similar to the diamond of playing-cards (though its sides are never concave). A narrower lozenge may be called a fusil. A mascle is a lozenge voided, i.e. with a lozenge-shaped hole; a rustre is a lozenge pierced, i.e. with a round hole.

A billet is a rectangle, sometimes representing a sheet of paper or a piece of firewood. Its long side is normally vertical.

  • a billet with ends splayed in three points appears in the arms of Khienburg
  • It is important to distinguish the billet from the delf, a square charge that when occurring singly, in one of the stainard colours and when not itself charged, in supposed to be an abatement. Sometimes the delf is euphemised as a "square billet."
  • The delf is distinguished in terminology if not in form from the square, which rarely occurs, the arms of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada including "a square... joined at each corner with a smaller square Vert". But the more usual use of the term square in heraldry is for the carpenter's square. The gad must be distinguished from all of these.

A circular ring is called an annulet; a solid circle is called a roundel.

Supernatural or Divine beings

Though the taboo is not invariably respected, British heraldry in particular, and to a greater or lesser extent the heraldry of other countries, frowns on depictions of God or Christ, though an exception may be in the not-uncommon Continental depictions of Madonna and Child, including the Black Madonna in the arms of Marija Bistrica, Croatia.


Other religions

  • Avanyu: the arms of the 515th Regiment of the United States Army
  • the head of Argus: the arms of de Santeul
  • The goddess Ceres: in the arms of the South-African town of that name.
  • The goddess Runcina: in the arms of Roncone, Italy
  • The god Mercury: in the arms of Idrija, Slovenia
  • The head of Minerva: in the arms of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.
  • Venus: in the arms of Zianno di Fiemme, Italy.
  • Taras: in the arms of Taranto.
  • Hercules: in a number of Continental coats of arms
  • The head of Geryon: in the arms of Trivulzi.
  • The god Mithras appears on the arms of Hajdina, Slovenia.
  • a bust of Oden appears in the arms of the Swedish icebreaker of that name


Humans may be used as charges, usually as heads rather than as whole individuals. (Particularly in Europe, the "default" human is almost always depicted as one of European ancestry, though contrary examples can very occasionally be seen. ) "Humans" so blazoned are rare, though there are some examples, such as a group of people (a human figure made of honeycomb-like cells appears in the arms of Machetá, Colombia.)

  • A two-headed figure with one head a man's and one head a woman's: the arms of di Petris-Fragianni.
  • There are also some examples of a man, not more fully described.

However, there are a number of frequently-occurring types of men, usually just as heads.

  • The Moor or "blackamoor" is accurately shown as being African, although James Parker states that an "African" appears in the arms of Roupell of Chartham Park.
  • Englishman
  • A "négre" (= Negro): in the arms of Braunjohan.
  • Saracen
  • Saxon
  • Turk
  • Welshman
  • The head of a Greek warrior: in the arms of the 642d Military Intelligence Battalion
  • A "conquistador's head": in the arms of the 202d Field Artillery Regiment , of the United States Army.
  • An Aboriginal head: in the arms of the city of Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia.
  • The "bust of a Jew": in the arms of Jud de Bruckberg.

Generally speaking, there is only one type of woman (young, beautiful and blonde, with disheveled hair, but there are occasional instances of her hair being braided), and appearing more often as a bust than head.

  • A brunette [with an eagle's beak in place of a nose]: Elzanowski et Elzanowski-Sepiathere
  • A Moorish woman: Apfaltrer d'Apfaltrera.
  • "The upper body of a Xhosa woman": in the arms of Lingelethu.

The "maiden" or "virgin" overlaps with the woman to a large degree. A "maiden in her modesty" is one who is covering her breasts with one arm and her groin with the other hand.

There are rare occurrences of the child, both the head and entire, and while almost without exception and by default a child is defined as a boy, the arms of Frans Bernhard Staal specify a "male child" (but in the arms of Maravilha, Brazil the children are specified to be male and female).

  • A young girl appears in the arms of Boul.

There are a number of appearances of the "infant"

[Y]outh's heads: in the arms of Davidson

Races and nationalities of humans

The American Indian occasionally appears in heraldry though far more often as a supporter than a charge.

  • The new arms of South Africa are blazoned "Or, representations of two San human figures of red ochre, statant respectant, the hands of the innermost arms clasped, with upper arm, inner wrist, waist and knee bands Argent, and a narrow border of red ochre".
    • Similar might be said to be the figures in the arms of Bishop Edward Gabriel Risi of the Suffragan Diocese of the Province of Bloemfontein - Republic of South Africa [[Giant (mythology)|Giants]: in the arms of Agrigento, Italy.
    • Human occupations

      • cyclist on a cycle car: arms of Western Province Cycle-Car Association
      • A naked man: in the arms of Dalyell
      • There are a number of examples of naked women.
      • Men and women of various types and professions are rare other than as knights (described as Templars in the arms of [[Merlevenez], Morbihan, France]), monks, nuns and the like.
        • the arms of the Province of Prato show a miniature of a knight from the Convenevole da Prato
      • a Birkebeiner: the arms of the 5th Brigade (BRIG 5), the FDI 5 War Unit of the Norwegian Army
      • mariners (though so called apparently only as they are men rowing an "open boat"): the arms of Kilrenny, Anstruther and District Community Council, Fife, Scotland

      Named individuals

      In British heraldry it is highly unusual to depict a particular named individual on the shield.

      Attitudes of humans

      Humans are standing and affronty unless otherwise stated (sometimes this is specified though it is not necessary); there is at least one example of a statant affronty with the description going into more precise detail. There are occasional examples of people kneeling. Walking people are sometimes described as ambulant.

      There are occasional instances of people sitting in chairs, and the arms of the Diocese of Clogher provides an example of sitting and leaning toward the sinister his right hand upraised in benediction.

      A Yaqui performing the Deer Dance appears in the arms of Sonora, Mexico.

      The arms of Lenguazaque, Cundinamarca, Colombia contain a miner in the midst of work, and there are other similar (though sometimes anomalous or arguably not in strict accordance with the rules) examples of men whose attitude is determined by their occupation.

      Parts of human bodies

      Parts of human bodies, in addition to the head, that occur include the arm, leg and skull. If possible to determine the difference, the "default" is supposed to be a man's, though a woman's arm occurs in the arms of Beyer de Boppard.

      • the eye is rarely accompanied by eyebrows, and on at least one occasion the eyelid and surrounding skin is included with it. Generally blazoned as "proper", there is one example in which the sclera, iris and pupil are blazoned separately.
      • The hand, as in the blood-soaked severed hand on the flag of Ulster.
        • a dexter hand appaumé and a maple leaf conjoined: the arms of Brian Mulroney.
        • a probably unique example of a woman's dexter hand: the arms of Mary McAleese
      • Feet: the arms of Millares and footprints in the arms of Nayarit, Mexico
      • The cochlea: in the arms of Daniel Ling.
      • Shin bones: appeared in the arms of Sir Isaac Newton.
      • Rib bones: canting, in the arms of Mendes da Costa
      • A vertebra: as a difference in the arms of Krista Lynn, granddaughter of Walter William Roy Bradford.
      • Teeth: canting, in the arms of Zahn.
      • Tongue
      • The heart, even when blazoned "a human heart", always appears like the heart in a deck of cards rather than a natural human heart.
      • A "dug" or woman's breast "distilling drops of milk", famously appears in the arms of the Dodge family, and appeared for a time on the badge of cars made by the Dodge Automotive company.
      • There are some Continental appearances of the beard.
      • Moustaches: the arms of Barban, Istria County, Croatia.
      • Kidneys with their ducts: the Urological Association of South Africa's arms.
      • Testicles: the Neapolitan family of Coglione bore "per fess argent and gules, three pairs of testicles counterchanged".


      Heraldic depictions of "real" animals need not, and usually do not, exactly resemble the actual creatures. Mythical creatures used in heraldry are sometimes called "monsters".

      Except the griffin, beasts in heraldry are male unless otherwise specified.


      • The beast most seen in armory, and indeed one of the most frequent charges of all, is the lion.
      • The heraldic tyger is an imaginary monster; where natural beast appears (typically in arms associated with India), it is blazoned as a Bengal tiger.
      • leopard (which may be used to describe the lion "passant guardant" [see attitudes below] rather than the natural leopard; if an attitude is described it will be the natural leopard though technically it should not be shown as spotted unless this is mentioned in the blazon)
      • ounce (snow leopard)
      • bobcat: the arms of the Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division of the United States Army
      • cheetah: the head, upper body and forepaws of a cheetah proper winged Or appear in the arms of the 2d Squadron of the South African Air Force
      • The cat has two forms: the "cat-a-mount", and the domestic cat, the latter called just a "cat". Only rarely is the breed described; Himalayan cats are known. A female cat appears in a handful of coats of arms.
      • wolf
      • She-wolf: the arms of Cormaranche en Bugey Ain, France),
      • fox (occasionally including the arctic fox)
      • dog; in addition to the generically-blazoned type, the
        • Boxer dog's head appears in the arms of the Federation of Boxer Clubs of South Africa
      • bear (including, rarely, the polar bear) frequently appears
      • "brock" (badger) (occasional)
      • ermine (occasional)
      • cougar (rare)
        • "winged cougar": arms of the Anglican Parish of St. Mark, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia
      • raccoon (rare)

      Hoofed animals

      Other mammals

      Reptiles and amphibians

      Fish and other sea animals

      "Fish" are sometimes only described as "a fish", but the species is often named:


      There are rare examples of a "bird", not more specifically named.

      Oft-used birds include the eagle (sometimes having two heads, and there is at least one example of a three-headed eagle ); the bateleur is distinguished in at least one blazon.


      Insects include:


      Several mythical creatures are also used as charges; however, it should be noted that this distinction has no real significance, as many mythical creatures were believed to be real when they were inducted into heraldry, and as a whole they are not treated differently than any other beasts.

      • dragon: another common charge, depicted as large and reptilian, with a forked tongue, an eagle's eyes, and a bat's wings. (The number of "membranes" in the wings may be specified. )
      • wyvern: similar to a dragon, but with only two legs.
      • These pre-date the appearance of several types of Oriental dragons including:-
      • The generally-described "Chinese dragon"
      • Another Chinese monster, the qilin: in the arms of Captain Benjamin Lee.
      • mermaid: not infrequently.
      • Phoenix: including in a Chinese type in the arms of Adrienne Clarkson)
      • unicorn
      • sphinx: not depicted in the familiar way, but with the head and breasts of a woman.

      Many other monsters are compound creatures.

      • A simple example is the griffin, combining the head (but with ears), chest, wings and forelegs of the eagle with the hindquarters and legs of a lion (the male griffin lacks wings and his body is scattered with spikes); there is at least one example of the double-headed griffin.
      • The hippogriff is like the griffin except that the lion parts of the griffin are replaced by those of a horse.
      • The pegasus is a winged horse.
      • The sea-lion is a combination of a lion and a fish.
      • A half-eagle, half-tiger (an eagle dimidiated with a tiger) creature figured in the arms granted to Fernando de Tapia.
      • In Canada compound creatures such as the raven-bear and raven-wolf appear.
      • a winged chimera with the feet of an eagle figured in the arms of Fada of Verona

      Parts of Animals

      Parts of creatures may also be used as charges. The most frequent parts used as charges are the head, the gamb (or limb) and the paw.

      • If the part is erased, then it is depicted with ragged edges, as if it had been ripped from the animal's body.
      • If the part is couped, then it is depicted with a straight edge, as if it were neatly severed.
      • demi (as in, for instance, demi-lion) means that the upper half of an animal alone is to be shown.
      • If an animal is shown in its entirety, but with the head, tail and limbs separated from the body, it is said to be dismembered.
      • The terms applied to the head vary; if shown full-faced and without the neck showing, the heads of deer-like animals, and the bull, are termed "caboshed", and the arms of Alexander L. Purves show an application of this term to the head of the Chinese dragon.
      • Elephant tusks frequently appear
      • A "boar's tooth" [sic] appears in the arms of the Orange Free State Amateur Athletic Association.
      • Wolves' teeth in the arms of Zemby.

      Attitude of animals

      The position, or attitude, of the creature's body is also described; the vague description of the three herons in the arms of Ibinu, Brazil, as being "em posição diferentes" (in different positions) being something of an exception.

      • An animal shown with one hind paw on the ground and three paws in the air) is called rampant (except the griffin, for whom the term segreant must be used);
      • one that is walking (shown with one forepaw in the air and three paws on the ground) is passant.
      • A rare example of passant applied to the bird is to the flamingo in the arms of the Kuisebmond Second School, Walvis Bay.
      • The flamingo and kiwi have also been blazoned statant.
      • There is even an example in the heraldry of the United States Air Force of "two boots passant" ; this is strictly incorrect as "passant" can be applied only to beasts and, rarely, some types of birds, and not inanimate objects.
      • Animals with all four paws on the ground are statant (standing).
      • Beasts of prey, and horses, running are courant (they are shown with both forelimbs and both hind limbs together), though the arms of Iberia show a horse in full gallop.
      • The bear, apparently uniquely, can walk on its hind legs.
      • If the animal is sitting, the term sejant is employed, and if sitting with the front paws raised in the air, sejant erect
        • a cat sejant in a watching posture with her dexter paw extended appears in the arms of Smith of Canmo
      • Animals with the two hind paws on the ground and the two forepaws in the air are salient (jumping).
      • (There is at least one case of leaping being distinguished.)
      • An animal is couchant if it is laying down, and dormant if it is sleeping (with its head lowered).
      • The term clymant is almost exclusively applied to the goat, but there are instances of its application to the unicorn and pegasus.
      • A very rare term, pascuant, is applied to a quadruped when grazing.
      • The ox in the arms of Delaware is statant, ruminating.]
      • A bull "storming": in the arms of the Erasmus Family Association.
      • "a crouching panther, tail elevated": in the arms of the 31st Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army.
      • If the tongue of the animal is of a different tincture, it is said to be langued of such-and-such a tincture, though it is not necessary to specify that a lion is "langued gules" as this is the default unless it is charged on gules, in which case the default is azure.
        • The arms of the 345th Quartermaster Battalion of the United States Army provide a unique example in which a cottonmouth is langued with a thunderbird Gules.
      • There may be examples of the teeth of an animal being of a different tincture (dented)
      • If the eyes of the animal are of a different tincture, it is said to be eyed of such-and-such a tincture, and the arms of the 83d Chemical Battalion of the U.S. Army show a rare example in which the tincture of the pupil is specified.
      • If the penis of the animal is of a different tincture than the rest, it is said to be pizzled of such-and-such a tincture.

      By default, the charge faces the left, as seen by the viewer.

      • The head of an animal guardant faces the viewer,
      • The head of an animal or bird reguardant faces the right, as seen by the viewer.
      • It is extremely unusual for the head to be described as in trian aspect (or three-quarters profile).
      • There are several positional descriptions unique to the lion, which appears to be the only creature that can be stantant with tail extended, though other animals have been known to have their tails "erect".
      • A "lion with a dragon's tail" can be seen in the arms of Christopher Sterling Tod Mackie.
      • The Chinese dragon in the arms of Dr. Richard Gordon Num is torqued.

      Entirely different terms are used for stags and other deer-like creatures. Trippant is used instead of passant, at bay instead of statant, at gaze instead of statant guardant, springing instead of salient and lodged instead of couchant.

      • The serpent is said to be nowed if tied in a knot.
      • The snake is sometimes found in a circle with its tail in its mouth, which position in French heraldry sometimes makes it an ouroboros.
      • If gliding along, the serpent is glissant. The arms of the 37th Armor of the United States Army give an example of a wyvern (sans legs) glissant.
      • The rattlesnake, uniquely, can be described as coiled to strike.

      Fish also use a different terminology.

      • A straight horizontal fish is naiant,
      • and an arched horizontal fish is embowed (though this can sometimes be applied to other animals, such as the crocodile).
      • If the fish is vertical, and its head faces upwards, it is hauriant;
      • if its head faces downwards, the fish is urinant. (The example of a "dragon urinant" in the arms of the USS Tornado is certainly open to criticism.)

      The terminology for birds is based on the position of the wings.

      • If a bird faces the viewer, with the head turned to one side, and the wings spread apart on either side, the bird is displayed.
      • If the bird is not shown facing the viewer, and the wings are shown spread apart, the bird is volant (flying);
      • If the wings are shown folded, the bird is trussed, close or perched.
      • (The attitude "volant" is also sometimes applied to aircraft.)
      • (Owls volant affronty appear in the arms of Sir Christopher Frayling )
      • {An owl affronty hovering appears in the arms of Jules Léger.)
      • If the bird's head faces upward, the bird is rising or rousant (about to take flight).
      • Swans and ducks are very occasionally found naiant (= swimming).
      • There are several examples of crowing cocks.


      Plants are extremely common in heraldry and figure among the earliest charges. (The colonial-era arms of Tlemcen, Algeria are unusual in that they contain generic "plants".) The turnip, for instance, makes an early appearance, as does wheat.

      When the fruit of a tree, branch, or the like is mentioned, as it generally will only be if it is of a different tincture, it is said to be fructed of the tincture. The arms of the French family of Fenoyer provide a perhaps unique example in which the number of "pieces" of the "fructed" is stated.

      Grain crops

      • Wheat constantly occurs in the form of "garbs" or sheaves (and in fields in the arms of the province of Alberta and elsewhere), though less often as ears), though most often they are shown in stylised form.
        • bearded wheat ears are distinguished in the arms of the 469th Support Battalion of the United States Army
      • Ears of rye are depicted exactly as wheat, except the ears droop down.
      • "Ginny wheat" or "guinea wheat" (like wheat but with a fatter ear) also exists
      • There are very few examples of barley, maize and oats.


      The most famous heraldic flower is the fleur-de-lis, which is often stated to be a stylised lily, though despite the name there is considerable debate on this (the "natural" lily -- also somewhat stylised in its depiction -- also occurs, as (together with the fleur-de-lys) on the arms of Eton College; the Joseph's lily in some Irish grants, the Calla lily and the lily of the valley are also distinguished from these).

      • The head of an Orange River Lily: the arms of Free State Province, South Africa.
      • The arms of La≈°ko, Slovenia are blazoned "Azure, three Bourbonic Fleurs-de-lys Argent".
      • a fleur de lys bourgeonée is distinguished.
    • Heraldic roses are also (most commonly, and unless otherwise specified) shown in a stylised form similar to the wild rose
    • The lotus flower is also shown in a stylised form
    • The thistle occurs constantly, as it is the symbol of Scotland.
    • Other commonly used flower-like charges (called "foils") include:-

      • trefoil (with three petals),
      • quatrefoil (with four petals),
      • cinquefoil (with five petals),
      • sexfoil (with six petals);
      • The septfoil (with seven petals) appears in the arms of the 63rd Armor of the United States Army.
      • The double quatrefoil (with eight petals) is in England the seldom if ever seen cadency mark of the ninth son.

      Less frequently used flowers include the flower of the almond tree, the anemone, the carnation, the columbine, the daisy, the lilac, the dogwood flower, marjoram, the marigold and pot marigold, the peony, the poppy, the sunflower, the tulip and the hydrangea (as in the arms of Rueil Malmaison).

      Fruits and nuts



      Dead trees are occasionally used as a charge. Trees are sometimes merely blazoned as "a tree" but specific trees are mentioned in blazon.

      • Far and away the most frequently occurring is the oak.
      • A close second is the pine.

      Members of the pine family such as:-

      Other plants

      Inanimate charges


      Celestial objects also feature as charges. A sun with rays is called a sun in splendour; there is at least one example of the rays being blazoned as differently tinctured.

      • (A "Philippine sun" can be seen in the arms of the 387th Replacement Battalion of the United States Army
      • A "Namibian sun" in the arms of Klaazen )
      • Moons come in many varieties, including the "full moon" and the "crescent".
      • Although mullets appear to be stars, in English heraldry they are actually supposed to be spur rowels; in modern times they are shown with five points, unless another number is specified (as in "mullet of six")
        • ridged mullets appear in the arms of Gareth Zundel
      • Estoiles are stars with wavy rays; pole stars are occasionally differentiated.
      • the Star of Acadia (which has the same appeance as a mullet): in the arms of Roméo LeBlanc
      • An example of stars grouped in a constellation is in the arms of the Australian state of Victoria, which show the Southern Cross.
      • Magen David: in the FulwoodArms.gif of Camilo Agasim-Pereira of Fulwood & Dirleton, The Baron of Fulwood & Dirleton.
      • The arms of Pierre-Simon Laplace showed the planets Jupiter and Saturn and their moons.
      • The aurora borealis appears in the arms of Murmansk Oblast in Russia.
      • There are also comets and shooting stars.
      • The globe appears frequently in later times, and the arms of the last Swedish knight Sven Anders Hedin are "Argent, a globe Azure centered on Asia, on a chief Sable three escallops of the first."
        • an arc of the globe showing Newfoundland: the arms of Arthur Maxwell House


      • Thunderbolts and lightning bolts -- also called "lightning flashes" -- are shown in a stylized way.
      • There is at least one example of a "fork of lightning".
      • Clouds often occur, though more frequently for people or animals to stand on or issue from than as isolated charges. There are rare examples of unspecified numbers of clouds in an "atmosphere."
      • A "cloud formation": in the arms of the 23rd Air Division of the United States Air Force
      • "clouds forming a genie":in the arms of the 3rd Chemical Battalion of the United States Army.
      • In terms of clouds' precipitation, the raindrop as such is unknown,
      • and the snowflake (blazoned as "snow crystal" ) is only known in more recent times,
      • though the snowball predates this by some centuries.
      • There is a perhaps unique example of "sound waves", which can apparently be distinguished only contextually.

      Geology and geography

      Geological and geographic charges include the mountain (sometimes blazoned as a "rocky mountain," though the distinction is not significant), which must be distinguished from the oft-occurring mount in base vert. This mount is in turn similar to the terrace (though this is usually depicted as flatter) or champagne; the last is sometimes charged or modified in some way, including being crossed by a road. Very unusually, something about the road is blazoned. Landscapes, in addition to their unusual use as fields, are very occasionally used as charges, typically in a Latin-American context. Sand dunes occur in the arms of the former AFS Rooikop.

      Underneath the ground are rare occurrences of mines, including the

      • entrance to a coal mine in the arms of Biblian, Ecuador
      • The black wildebeests in the arms of Natal ran on a "plain".
      • The woman in the arms of Francke de Rückersdorf stands in a field of wheat.
      • Charges are also sometimes, if rarely, stated to be on a "promontory" or "peninsula".
      • "Land masses" appear in the arms of some United States Air Force units.
      • The island: in the arms of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.
      • Stones are usually distinguished from rocks, and are to be distinguished from pebbles
      • A rock in the form of a lion: in the former colonial arms of Bône, Algeria.
      • Cut diamonds occasionally appear, one described in some detail in the arms of Asprey Holdings, Ltd.
      • Crystals of gypsum form a sort of border in the arms of Gams Bei Hieflau, Steiermark, Austria
      • A chipped flint implement: in the arms of Crouttes sur Marne, Aisne, France.
      • Charges relating to water include:
        • the stylised loch (the lake is shown more naturalistically).
        • The arms of Westhoek, in Friesland, show a gulf.
        • The arms of the USS Cardinal show whitecaps
        • a lagoon or small lake or pond (laguna): in the arms of Don Diego
        • the horse in the arms of Gesturi, Italy, gallops over a swamp
        • The arms of Tolmin, Slovenia, show a "curving creek".
        • A river of water and blood: in the arms of Geronimo del Aguila
          • Specific rivers, the São Francisco and Pará, in the arms of Martinho Campos, Minha Gervais, Brazil,
          • the Rio Burgay in the arms of Biblián, Ecuador
          • the Rio Iguaçu in the arms of Araucária, Paraná, Brazil
          • and the "confluence of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon"
        • waterfalls include
        • the rocky shore in the arms of the state of Alagoas, Brazil, may also be reduced to this heading

      Geometrical shapes

      Geometrical shapes, other than the ordinaries and subordinaries, are very rare in heraldry.

      • An "acute angular pattern" (very exceptionally): in the arms of the 313th Air Division of the United States Air Force.
      • There are occurrences of the triangle (sometimes specified to be equilateral though this is the default).
        • A triangle with concave sides: in the arms of the 10th Psychological Operations Battalion of the United States Army
        • "Voided" isosceles triangle: in the arms of the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion of the United States Army )
        • An isosceles triangle treated as a mountain in that it is "capped argent": in the arms of the Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army.
        • See also the Chrstian Trinity emblem used in heraldry.
      • 45° drafting triangle (engineering drawing implement): in the arms of the 30th Engineering Battalion of the United States Army.
      • There are very occasional appearances of the pentagon and hexagon.
      • octagon: in the arms of the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion of the United States Army.
      • demi-triangle: in the arms of Badon-Ghyben
      • "triangle in relief": in the arms of Belon-Lapisse.
      • Pythagorean theorem: the arms of Seissenegger
      • The oval: in the arms of Carolus Linnæus.
      • There are a handful of examples of the cone and the cube.
      • Lines: in the arms of Allanridege, South Africa.


      Tools include:-

      • axes of various types (including
        • ice-axe
        • pickaxe
        • pioneer's axes: in the arms of William Wallace McCuaig
      • fire tongs: in the arms of Stepney Metropolitan Borough Council
      • hammers, blazoned either as "a hammer" and of various other types including:-
        • "blacksmith's hammers": in the arms of Dr. Raymond Ernest Smith
        • "paver's hammer": in the arms of Fanhões, Ajuda, Lisboa, Portugal
        • martels-de-fer: in the arms of the 192nd Ordnance Battalion of the United States Army.
        • maul
      • shovel
      • sickle
      • hoe.
      • ladders typically take the form of scaling ladders.
      • scales (weighing)
      • scissors
      • surgeons' scalpels
      • trowel

      Aircraft and flying


      • A space capsule: in the arms of Vicomte F. de Winne

      Ground vehicles

      The wheel is a carriage wheel unless otherwise specified, of which there are very few instances.

      • A winged wheel: in the arms of Barrie, Ontario.
        • Parker states that a wagon appears in the arms of Binning.
        • "The front wheel of an ox-wagon": appears in the arms of Cicero Rautenbach.
        • A "covered wagon": in the arms of the 734th Transportation Battalion of the United States Army
          • a stylized image of an oxen drawn covered wagon: the arms of the Special Troops Battalion of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the United States Army
        • A mine wagon: in the arms of Mont-Dore
        • A Voortrekker wagon: in the arms of the Transvaal Provincial Administration.
      • A mechanized track: in the arms of the 121st Support Battalion of the United States Army
      • An "army truck": in the arms of the 49th.
      • Truck wheels are said to be tired if the tires are of a different tincture: as at this link
      • A "stage coach": in the arms of Ville de Stanstead.
      • A road roller: in the arms of Phillipstown Divisional Council, South Africa.
      • A tractor: in the arms of Nova Mutum, Brazil ; a man riding one can be seen in the arms of Sulina, Brazil

      Ships and boats and water transport

      Ships take a variety of forms:-

      Parts of ships include the rudder


      Bridges, variously and usually more fully described, often occur.


      Religious buildings

      • Various forms of religious buildings including:-
      • An "ecclesiastical building": in the arms of the town of Eccles in England
      • A belfry
      • A steeple
      • churches of various types including a romanic church
        • rural church "domed onion-shaped": in the arms of Kirchberg, Germany
        • and church with campanile in the gothic style: in the arms of Berceto, Italy; the campanile appears separately in the arms of the Port Elizabeth Hospital Board.
      • Specific churches such as:
      • chapels
        • including an "octagon chapel in romanic style"
        • and a specific chapel, the chapel of Siecha
      • the Convento da Penha: in the arms of Vila Velha, Brazil
      • missions:
      • A monk's cell [shown as a separate building]
      • James Parker states that (in addition to regular appearances of the building) "the ruins of an old abbey" appear in arms quartered by Maitland.
      • Various types of temples, including:-
        • the three columned temple of Georgia: the arms of the 325th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army
        • A "Korean temple": in the arms of the 321st Army Security Agency of the United States Army )
        • The minaret of a mosque: in the arms of Tlemcen

      Industrial buildings

      Fortified buildings

      • castle
        • This is distinguished from the tower in that a castle of the "generic" type (in British and allied heraldry, at any rate) consists of two joined towers at either end of a wall (also a charge in heraldry).
        • There are a number of other types of castles including the quadrangular castle.
        • Castles may be domed or may have conical roofs.
        • A turreted castle of three storeys appears in the arms of Benoni, South Africa.
        • A castle of an unusual type: in the arms of Lauerz, in the canton of Schwyz, Switzerland.
        • the Fontanellato castle: in the arms of Fontanellato, Italy.
        • The Nordborg castle: in the arms of Nordborg, Denmark.
        • the castle of Ehrenbreitstein: in the arms of the 17th Field Artillery Regiment of the United States Army
        • Rocca di Minozzo : the arms of Villa Minozzo, Italy
        • ruined castles sometimes appear
        • a mount Vert debruising all but the embattlements of a castle and tower: the arms of the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the United States Army
        • A castle gateway: in the arms of Heidelberg, South Africa.
      • The castle is distinguished from the "tower triple-towered", i.e. with three smaller towers or turrets rising out of the top, as in the Blason Castille.png of Castile.
      • the Palazzo della “Torraccia”: in the arms of Terzolas, Italy.
      • A city wall with the letter "A" formed out of the masonry) with another tower rising from, or behind, the wall): the arms of Alexandow Kujawski
      • The "rampart in ruins": in the arms of Mennetou sur Cher, Loir et Cher, France.
      • An oak fortress figures in the arms of Arsk, Russia
      • A "four-bastioned fort" (in plan): in the arms of the 729th Support Battalion of the United States Army and
        • a four bastioned fort of the outline of old Fort Stanwix: in the arms of the 390th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army
      • The city is also a frequently occurring charge, though almost exclusively in civic heraldry.
      • The Chaussée Gate of Verdun: in the arms of the 108th Medical Battalion of the United States Army
      • The the stone block house of El Caney, Cuba: in the arms of the 25th Armored Infantry Battalion of the United States Army

      Groups of buildings

      Other buildings

      A vaguely-described "stylized building" appears in the arms of the 26th Air Division of the United States Air Force,

      Hats and other headgear

      Hats include:-

      • The ecclesiastical hat in the arms of Freguesia do Prior Velho in Portugal
      • the ecclesiastical hat of a bishop: in the arms of São João Nepomuceno, Minas Gerais, Brazil
      • The shako
      • The "wide-brimmed hat" in the arms of Marco Foppoli
      • Constantly appearing are crowns (sometimes stated to be encrusted with jewels such as emeralds) and coronets of various kinds:
        • two circlets of the crown of a King of Arms: in the arms of Sir Albert William Woods
        • The Gothick crown
        • The crest coronet: in the arms of Steven B. Madewell
        • Coronets érablé: in the arms of Brian Mulroney
        • The liberty tiara: in the arms of the 389th Support Battalion of the United States Army
        • The naval crown: in the arms of the USCGC Decisive
      • The mortarboard.
      • Basotho hats: in the arms of the Molefe Tribal Authority.
      • Confucian hats: in the arms of John Chiu.
      • Helmets include
      • the Papal tiara
      • Phrygian caps very occasionally appear.
      • There are occasional appearances of the turban.




      Atomic heraldry is heraldry characterised by the appearance of charges including the atom or showing the motion of parts of the atom; more loosely, it may describe heraldry in which atoms or the component parts thereof are represented through a combination of other charges. This is a late development in heraldry.

      Letters and numbers

      Letters of the (Latin) alphabet rarely appear, and then almost invariably in either one of two "fonts", Latin or "text" letters ("black letter", which it has been blazoned as at least once."


      Musical instruments include:-

      • harp (as in the Coat of arms of Ireland)
      • bagpipes
      • bells
        • the Liberty Bell: in the arms of the 5th Field Artillery Regiment of the United States Army
      • an Infantry bugle of 1861: the arms of the 19th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army
      • drum (shown as a "field drum") but
        • an ethnic drum: distinguished in the arms of Lyndhurst Primary School in South Africa
      • guitar (only occurring as acoustic)
      • lyres
      • organ pipes
      • violin (along with its bow)
        • the violin bridge: in the arms of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
      • clarinet: in the arms of Chevalier Walter Boekens
      • panpipe: in the arms of Hilary Mary Weston
      • tuning fork: in the arms of Franklin W. Darroch of Mulmorich might be placed under the same heading.
      • treble clef: in the arms of the Hamilton Children's Choir
      • Musical notes include
        • Minims (half-notes) (in the arms of Iain Millington) and
        • Croches (quarter-notes) (in the arms of Baron Toots Thielemans)
      • A sharp, flat, and natural: in the arms of Orlando di Lasso.
      • A specific musical score ("Intermezzo", by Luis A. Calvo): in the arms of Agua de Dios, Colombia.

      Sports equipment

      Sports equipment includes:

      • a bowling jack and bowling woods: the arms of the Cape County Bowling Association, South Africa
      • a cycle car: in the arms of the Western Province Cycle-Car Association
      • golf clubs, as found in the arms of the Hoylake Urban District Council
      • a rubber ball: in the arms of Altamira, Brazil
      • skis, in the arms of Križevci, Slovenia ;
      • and a number of examples of skates.
      • Tennis racquets appear in the arms of the South African Railways Recreation Club, Coligny.
      • A football ("soccer ball") appears in the arms of Baron M. D'Hooghe.
      • Rugby balls occasionally occur in the arms of South African rugby clubs.
      • Rugby goal posts are in the arms of the Collegians Rugby Club, Kroonstad.

      Weapons and militaria

      There are quite a variety of weapons as charges, including:

      • a contact mine: in the arms of the USS Cardinal
      • The trophy is a collection of armor and weapons.
      • Bows include the longbow and crossbow and arrows include the birdbolt
        • an arrow tipped with a “Reed” stone head: the arms of Joe Lyn Casey
      • The cannon (and its balls, including:
        • An "ancient cannon": in the arms of Robert B. Mitchell.
        • A "projectile": in the arms of the 131st Signal Battalion,
        • A "75 mm projectile": in the arms of the 26th Field Artillery Regiment, of the United States Army ) make some later appearances.
      • A "broken howitzer": in the arms of the 13th Field Artillery Regiment of the United States Army.
      • The Polynesian war club: in the arms of the 131st Armor Regiment of the United States Army.
      • A tomahawk: in the arms of the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division of the United States Army.
      • The dirk makes frequent appearances in Scottish heraldry.
      • The grenade has an appearance similar to a cannonball with flames coming out of a flattened end.
      • lance
        • and the "Polish lance" born by Davout
      • The mace appears as a weapon in addition to its appearance as a symbol of authority.
      • the sword constantly appears, though it should be noted that the description of the tincture applies to its blade, the hilt and pommel sometimes differing.
        • suriks: in the arms of East Timor
        • an infantry officer's sword: the arms of William Livesay Beverley Heath
      • Weapons of later times (or the effects of such weapons) also appear, such as:-
      • A "stand of grape" : in the arms of the 1st Field Artillery Regiment of the United States Army.
      • Atomic cloud: in the arms of the 509th Bomb Wing of the United States Air Force, which dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
      • intercontinental ballistic missile: the arms of Randal Carr.
      • The slingshot, appropriately, figures in the arms of the French family of David.
      • Military medals and decorations sometimes occur as charges:
      • The helmet of Athene Promachos: in the arms of George Francis Gilman Stanley.

      Clothing and other personal items

      • Buckles occur not infrequently, including the stylized boucle d'Oise. The arms of Peter Greenhill are an example of buckles with double tongues
        • a buckle "in the form of a heart" appears in the arms of Forbes of Pitsligo
      • A piece of calico: in the arms of the Accrington Borough Council.
      • A cane: in the arms of Odouze.
      • Combs
      • A bobbin features in the arms of Romilly sur Seine, Aube, France.
      • Spectacles rarely occur.
      • The maunch is a lady's sleeve; it is shown in a highly stylized form.
      • A bishop's mitre also not infrequently occurs as a charge; the simple mitre has been distinguished on at least one occasion.
      • shoes
        • including a kind of native Mexican shoe called esdaques.
      • spurs.




      • Chess rooks, as a charge, have a very different appearance from the rooks with which one might be familiar, ending in two outward-splayed "horns".
        • "Double chess rooks" appear in the arms of de Zuylen van Nyevelt.
        • The arms of the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion of the United States Army contain "a chess-piece with a griffin's head".
        • pawns: in the arms of Petrus Frederik Bouwer

      Food and its preparation

      • Cheeses appear in the arms of Ainkäs and of Kässpair.
      • There are numerous instances of the cornucopia.
      • Four culinary whisks appear in the arms of Linda Mary Alice Thom.
      • grape press: in the arms of Zavrč, Slovenia.
      • The barrel almost invariably occurs in the form of, and is described as, a tun.
      • There are baskets of several types, including the "egg basket, three quarters filled with duck eggs" in the arms of Pieter Goede.
      • A salt bucket: the arms of Sulz, Aargau, Switzerland
      • A mound of salt: the arms of Araruama, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      • salt cellar or sprinkling salt: in the arms of the Salters' Company.
      • a representation of a Charles Fawcett Manufacturing Company Charm Oak stove: the arms of the Fawcett Family Foundation


      • The column sometimes appears, and there is at least one example of a Corinthian column.
        • A broken classic column appears in the arms of the 501st Support Battalion of the United States Army.
      • The arch of Trajan at Batna , Algeria, blazoned as "l'arc de triomphe du lieu," appears in the colonial arms of Batna.
      • Roofing tiles appear in the arms of the Freguesia de Meirinhas in Pombas, Portugal.
      • The stairs in the arms of Kandersteg, Bern canton, Switzerland, are depicted in a way that is perhaps counterintuitive.
      • monuments include
      • the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, in the arms of Zimbabwe.

      Relics and religious objects


      • balls of twine: the arms of the Divisional Council of Dias, South Africa
      • The Bowen knot, a continuous loop of rope
      • The chief of the arms of Longhi is charged with the "marque du maison": <|||
      • The candle occurs as a charge
      • candle-holder: the arms of Josh R.M. Kyle show a candle-holder with three branches.
      • A coin appears in the arms of Quarteira, in Portugal.
      • There is an interlacing in the arms of Ploerdut, Morbihan, France.
      • A stick of dynamite: in the arms of the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army.
      • fishhook: in the arms of the 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment of the United States Army.
      • Flags of various kinds occasionally appear as charges.
        • The arms of the 12th Field Artillery Regiment of the United States Army show an Aztec banner.
      • the Green Bay city logo: the arms of the USS Green Bay
      • In addition to inanimate objects (as well as plants and animals) being inflamed, the flame itself is used as a charge, and there are some examples of
        • the fire or
        • logfire
      • A splice of three wires: in the arms of the 58th Signal Battalion of the United States Army.
      • An X-frame: in the arms of the 29th Signal Battalion of the United States Army.
      • The badge of the VIII Corps (2d Division, 2d Brigade...) in the War with Spain appears in the arms of the U.S. 18th Infantry Regiment.
      • Books constantly occur, most frequently in the arms of colleges and universities, though the Gospel and Bible are sometimes distinguished.
        • the book in the arms of Gregory John McGroarty is stated to represent the psalter of St. Columbkille
        • A bookcase replenished with books: appeared in the arms of the Haitian nobleman the Baron de Sévelinge.
      • a stylized representation of the Rosetta stone: the arms of the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion of the United States Army
      • The arms of Loé show a box.
        • A "winged packing box" appears in the arms of the 315th Troop Carrier Group.
      • [T]he insignia of the Siberian American Expeditionary Force: the arms of the 27th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army
      • the insignia of branch: the arms of the Finance Corps of the United States Army
      • Instances of statuary is the bust of Pedro IV in the arms of Municipal de Horta in Portugal, and the "Statue of Liberty" ("Liberty Enlightening the World") in the arms of the 48th Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force, and the torch from the statue in the arms of the USS Porter
      • "[T]wo strakes of the Pewterer's Company" appear in the arms of Clive Alexander.
      • The arms of the 421st Medical Battalion of the United States Army contain a stretcher.
      • Niels Bohr bore "Argent a t'ai chi gules and azure."
      • The telegraph at Chappe features in the arms of Saint Martin du Tertre, Val d'Oise, France.
      • the Vergina Sun in the arms of Alexander John Roman
      • Nails occur in several forms, but are the type without modern heads.
      • A painter's palette and paintbrushes: in the arms of Barbizon, France.
      • The pen is shown as a quill pen;
      • The "perron": in the arms of Dilsen-Stokkem, Limburg, Belgium
      • The porca de Murça: in the arms of the Murça, Portugal.
      • Pyrotechnic projectors: in the arms of the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion of the United States Army.
      • A radio tower: in the arms of the 17th Signal Battalion of the United States Army.
      • A radome: in the arms of the 20th Air Division of the United States Air Force.
      • The bundle of rods is occasionally termed a faggot.
      • the seal of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate: in the arms of the Bishop Edward Gabriel Risi of the Suffragan Diocese of the Province of Bloemfontein - Republic of South Africa
      • A smoke ring appears in the arms of the 485th Chemical Battalion of the United States Army.
      • Maps or outlines of a particular municipality, country or continent have shown Africa, China, Cameroun, the town of Ecoporanga, Espírito Santo, Brazil , the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso and the country itself (as originally divided by the Pope between Spain and Portugal) and Korea.
      • The Trojan horse figures as a charge in the arms of the 18th Psychological Operations Battalion of the United States Army.
      • the yard-measure
      • Aboriginal artifacts are common in North American, especially Canadian, heraldry.
      • ermine spots.
      • crosier
      • lamps;
        • the oil lamp is distinguished on at least one occasion
      • portcullis
      • speaking trumpets

      Miscellaneous details of blazon

      The charges are either in one or more of the tinctures, or umbrated, supposedly represented as a shadow, though the representation is closest to an outline alone (an example of similar terminology applied to the "shadows" of a charge are the arms of Risoul, Hautes Alpes, France). Even though it can be argued that it is not strictly accurate, charges consisting of an outline of a particular tincture (where a blazon as voided would not be appropriate) have been blazoned as umbreated of such-and-such a tincture. This is to be distinguished from "a silhouette of [a charge then named]" (see examples above).

      When a charge is said to be sans something, that part is missing; this is most commonly used in the case of animals missing some body part.

      A charge is said to be throughout when it is shown as touching the edges of the shield when this is not its default position.

      Some charges can be diminished; that is, shown smaller than their default size.

      The many examples of charges blazoned as stylized are practically confined to the heraldry of the United States Army, but this can be open to criticism because it does not necessarily make their appearance clear. Similarly, there are examples in the heraldry of the United States Air Force of a caricatured and conventionalized charges.

      In later times there are rare instances of charges "in perspective''" : normally perspective is ignored in the treatment of charges.

      A charge of rectangular form is said to be arraswise when a corner is in front and two sides are visible.


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