Posts tagged ‘religious heraldry’

Designing your own coat of arms – Belief system

Much like you can represent your ancestry in your coat of arms you may want to make an allusion to your faith or philosophy.

Let’s not forget that heraldry was originally a wholly Christian phenomenon and the armigers were very proud of their Christian faith. This explains the wide variations of crosses used as well as the various charges of the faith.

However, one need not be a Christian to have an allusion of their faith on their shield.

In this post, we will explore how one’s individual belief system can be shown on the shield, if so desired.

paschal-lamb martlet

Christianity has had the longest tradition in heraldry and as such can draw upon the largest collection of heraldic symbols. Having said that, nothing is more popular than the cross. There are crosses of all kinds, from the normal Latin Cross all the way to a cross fleury to any combination of crosses. Of course, there are other options. If, for example, you have made the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, you may opt for the escallop (sea shell). You may want to use a Paschal Lamb (purity) or a Martlet (faith) or a heart, etc. All Christian denominations have symbolism specific to them and you may want to use one of those symbols. Above you can see a Paschal Lamb and a Martlet (a bird without a beak and without legs).

Flag of Pakistan

The color Green (heraldic Vert) is sacred in IslamĀ  and may be used as the color of the field. The crescent or combination of crescent and star has become associated with the Muslim faith over the past few centuries and may be used as well. The flag of Pakistan, shown above, displays both the color green as well as the crescent and star.

Star of David

In the Jewish faith, the combination of Blue and White (heraldic Azure and Argent) is closely associated to the religion. Of course, the most well known symbols of Judaism are theĀ Magen David (or Star of David) and the Menorah. Other religious symbols that you may consider using are a tzitzit or a tefillin.

There are, of course, numerous other faiths in the world and there is no way they can all be listed here. The purpose though is to make you think about your belief system and what symbols represent it. Then to see how to incorporate those symbols (in one way or another) in your shield.

Proper care should be taken so that the shield is not mistaken to being those of a Temple or office. For example, while it would be fine to use the Magen David and a representation of the Torah as the shield of a Synagogue, it would be wholly inappropriate for an individual to bear such a shield; even if that person is a Kohanim.

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