Every Distinct Tincture, Fur, and Field Treatment

A discussion earlier this year led me to the calculation that there were 97 heraldically distinct tinctures, furs, and field treatments recognized in the SCA, and this evening I figured I’d go ahead and sketch them all out.

The math works out as follows:

  • 7 solid tinctures (2 metals plus 5 colors) +
  • 10 neutral furs (every combination of 2 metals x 5 colors) +
  • 20 ermine furs (2 metals ermined of 5 colors each, plus 5 colors ermined of 2 metals each) +
  • 20 masoned (2 metals masoned of 5 colors each, plus 5 colors masoned of 2 metals each) +
  • 20 papellony (2 metals papellony of 5 colors each, plus 5 colors papellony of 2 metals each) +
  • 20 scaly (2 metals scaly of 5 colors each, plus 5 colors scaly of 2 metals each).

(There are more blazonable neutral furs than that, because there are multiple variations of vair and potenty, as well as plumetty and the papelony fur, but all of these are considered heraldically equivalent when counting differences.)

In other words, each of the 97 squares below is considered to be a heraldically distinct tincture/treatment, each worth a full DC from every other possibility.

Adding field treatments (to your field or a charge) is thus an easy way to clear almost any conflict, as long as you can emblazon them in an identifiable fashion, although the results may be so eye-searing that you quickly come to regret the choice!


Update Aug 28: Following some interesting discussion on Facebook, it turns out this collection is incomplete.

Firstly, we allow registrations of “vairy ermine and counter-ermine” and other such combinations — so instead of 10 heraldically distinct neutral furs, there are at least 20, and more likely 180! 

This came as a surprise, partly because SENA doesn’t say “a fur may combine any two tinctures with good contrast” — it states that “a fur may combine any listed color with any listed metal,” which supports the “only ten combinations” interpretation, and suggests that the “vair of ermine” furs would require IAP documentation. But nonetheless, the existence of these two registrations (and lack of IAP notice in the LoARs for them) suggests such a thing is allowed:

  • Rowen Killian. Quarterly vairy azure ermined argent and argent ermined azure and vairy erminois and pean. (OSCAR, LoAR 2010/05)
  • Taran the Wayward. Vairy erminois and pean, an ermine spot vair. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/11)

That got me thinking — could one register a “vairy ermined”, such as “vair ermined gules,” with the ermine spots being placed overall the vair pattern? I searched the armorial without finding any examples, and a similar search for examples of field treatments applied to furs also came up empty. I can’t tell whether that means that these combinations are disallowed, or whether it just means that nobody has been crazy enough to try it!

And it turns out that we also register vairs of three or four tinctures, further exploding the set of possibilities! To date, all of the registrations so far have been with the same combination of four tinctures, but if we allow any one or two metals combined with any one or two colors, that gives us another 35 combinations, just using solid tinctures — plus hundreds more if we allow ermines.

Here’s a image (also available as downloadable PDF) that includes the extra vairs, but leaves out the “vairy of ermine” and other possible combinations.

Update Aug 29: Thanks to Wendi King for pointing out another registration of a vair containing ermine spots. This one predates the other two, and the LoAR mentions a historical example of its use.

  • Gauvain Eisenbein. Vairy en point erminois and azure, a bordure gules. (LoAR 2004/04, Emblazon)

Note that this one has ermine spots in just one of the vair tinctures, and uses ermine spots that do not match the other side. Taken to its logical extreme, this means that there are thirty-two thousand possible vairs, each heraldically distinct!

Examples of Individually Attested Pattern Registrations

The SCA’s current rulebook for heraldic submissions, The Standards for Evaluation of Names and Armory (or SENA), establishes a common set of requirements called the “Core Style,” based on armorial practices that were common across late-medieval Europe and on Anglo-Norman conventions in particular.

However, it also provides an escape hatch — you can register designs which do not meet the core style rules if you can show that all of their elements were part of established heraldic practice in some particular time and place. This mechanism is known as an “Individually Attested Pattern” (or IAP), and allows for registration of designs which are typical of German, or Italian, or Japanese, or other heraldic cultures but which would not be registrable under the Anglo-Norman-influenced core style rules.

The rules for IAPs are set forth in section A.4. of SENA, but meeting those requirements can be somewhat daunting for inexperienced pursuivants, so I thought it would be useful to dredge through recent Letters of Acceptances and Returns (or LoARs) to collect examples of successful IAP submissions to serve as a reference for heralds considering attempting one for the first time.

In addition to the successful IAPs, I also included a few which were “almost successful,” which is to say that they successfully documented one or more elements of a submission, but were returned because the proposed design included some additional features which were not fully documented.

There are also a few registrations from before the introduction of SENA in 2012, when a similar provision was allowed under the preceding Rules for Submission (RfS) known as a “documented exception for regional style.”

This survey covers just over ten years, from January 2007 through June 2017. [Update: As noted below, this is now current through November 2018.] (I only looked at LoARs from 2007 and later, as I wanted to find registrations for which the associated documentation could be viewed in OSCAR.) I endeavored to find all of the IAPs in this period, although I may have missed a few — let me know if you spot any stragglers that I overlooked!

All told, I found 30 successful IAPs, and I also included 5 “almost successful” returns, and 7 RfS Regional Style Exceptions (marked below with RfS).

They are grouped below by region and type of exception, and include links to the relevant entries in the LoAR and OSCAR. (The OSCAR links may require a login.)

Generally speaking, most of the examples from Europe cover violations of the rule of tincture, while those from outside of Europe cover charges or arrangements not known in Europe.

Update Aug 29 2017: I’ve added two more examples of pre-SENA RfS registrations with regional style exceptions, both discovered thanks to their use as examples in a useful piece in the Proceedings of the 2014 An Tir Kingdom Heraldic & Scribal Symposium by Richenda du Jardin entitled “Documenting an Individually Attested Pattern“. I’ve also added three more IAPs that I turned up by searching OSCAR rather than the LoARs.

Update Nov 12 2017: Added an example of the Hungarian “gules field with a vert base” pattern which wasn’t labeled an IAP but had sufficient supporting examples added during commentary to justify approval.

Update May 17, 2018: Added a low-contrast IAPs from 2014, as well as an unsuccessful attempt from 2015, both found in this 2016 listing of IAPs. People interested in creating an IAP for low-contrast European armory should check the Tincture IAP Database, a listing of over a hundred examples of period armory which violated the rule of tincture.

Update Jan 12, 2019: I’ve reviewed the sixteen months of LoARs that have been posted since I first built this list, and found another six IAP submissions to add to the list, only two of which were successful.

Aztec

Fess embowed To BASe, Jaguar Fur

A fess embowed to base as well as the use of crescents and a field pattern visually similar to a semy of cartouches.

  • Ocelotl Moctezuma. Or semy of cartouches sable, a fess embowed to base argent fimbriated gules between four crescents one and three azure. (OSCAR 1OSCAR 2 , LoAR 2016/03)

English (Late)

Gyronny Gules And Sable

Use of gyronny gules and sable fields.

  • Þyri Tyrkisdottir. Gyronny gules and sable, a tree blasted and eradicated between three mullets of six points one and two argent. (OSCAR, LOAR 2017/01)

Gyronny gules and sable with charges.

  • Gilly Wede. Gyronny gules and sable, a gillyflower argent between eight bees in annulo Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/12)

Gyronny gules and sable.

  • James Yale. Gyronny sable and gules, a cross of Saint Julian Or.  (OSCAR, LoAR 2012/07)

Gyronny gules and sable with charges.

  • Jacquelle d’Artois. Gyronny gules and sable, two sea-horses respectant Or and a sunflower proper. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/09)

Gules Field with Sable Charge

Sable charges on gules fields.

  • Andreiko Eferiev. Gules, a cloud sable within a bordure Or. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2017/02)

Highly Complex, Quarternary Charges

A complexity count of twelve, and quarternary charges, in Tudor English armory.

  • Juliana de Luna. Sable, on a chevron Or between three gryphon’s heads erased argent a crescent between two escallops azure and on a chief argent three torteaux each charged with a fleur-de-lys Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2010/07, RfS)

French

Azure Field with Gules Bordure

Azure fields with a low contrast gules bordure and a high contrast primary charge.

  • Adrienne d’Evreus. Azure, a fleur-de-lys argent and a bordure gules. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/11)

Gules FIELD WITH Sable Label

Gules fields with a low contrast sable label and a high contrast double tressure.

  • Eve di Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli. Gules, a fleur-de-lys within a double tressure Or, overall a label sable. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/09)

German (Late)

Gules Field With Sable Charges

Two sable charges on a gules field.

  • Robert Langeschwert. Gules, two bear’s paws couped addorsed sable. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/12)

Gules, on an ordinary sable, three charges metal.

  • Heinrich Schreiber. Gules, on a fess sable three mullets of six points argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/10)

Use of black charges on red on divided fields. (But not when paired with a dissimilar, high contrast charge on the other side of the field.)

  • Karin Jacobsdotter. Per bend gules and Or, in bend sinister an anvil and a domestic cat sejant contourny sable. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2013/11)

Use of complex sable primary charges alone on a gules field.

  • Murienne l’aloiere. Gules, three furisons sable. (OSCAR, LoAR 2010/07, RfS)

Use of black charges on red. (But not with three palewise charges.)

  • Kevin Ost. Gules, in fess three spears sable. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2017/06)

Sable FIELD WITH GULES CHARGES

Use of complex gules primary charges on sable fields, as well as bear’s heads couped.

  • Ellisif Styrbjarnardóttir. Sable, a bear’s head couped contourny gules. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/07)

Use of gules primary charges on sable fields. (But not when paired with a high-contrast peripheral ordinary.)

  • Susannah Scarlet. Sable, a chess rook gules and an orle argent. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/07)

Azure Field With Gules Charge

Charged gules ordinaries on azure fields, as well as the use of tertiary six-pointed mullets.

  • Miquel d’Orion. Azure, on a pale gules three mullets of six points Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/02)

Charged gules ordinaries on azure fields, as well as the use of tertiary six-pointed mullets and the existence of the shakefork.

  • Miquel d’Orion. Azure, on a shakefork gules, three mullets of six points Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/02)

Azure Field With Brown Charge

Use of a brown beast on an azure field.

  • Irmgard Hasenschlaf. Azure, a brown demi-hare proper. (OSCAR, LoAR 2009/01, RfS)

Argent Field With Or Charges

Metal ordinaries on metal fields, as well as the very German motif of a pile issuing from a corner of the field.

  • Ariana verch Gwenllian. Device change. Argent, a pile bendwise Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2013/12)

Gules and Sable Field with Counterchanging

Use of per pale fields using gules and sable with counterchanged charges (as well as the use of suns and roses as charges in the same heraldic jurisdiction).

  • Madison Morai. Per pale gules and sable, a sun counterchanged. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/12)
  • Nur of the Angels. Per pale sable and gules, a rose counterchanged. (OSCAR, LoAR 2018/01)

Multiply-Divided azure and gules Field

Divided fields of more than four parts in combinations of gules and azure, both uncharged or charged with argent charges.

  • Eginolf von Basel. Per fess gules and bendy gules and azure, in chief an egg argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/02)

Low-contrast multiply-divided field, without a primary charge.

  • Eginolf von Basel. Bendy azure and gules, a wolf’s head contourny erased Or maintaining in its mouth an egg argent. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2013/07)

Primary Charge Overlaying a Chief

A primary charge overlying a chief.

  • Marek Casimir of Krakow. Checky sable and argent, a chief enarched Or and overall an eagle displayed gules. (OSCAR 1, OSCAR 2, LoAR 2013/06)

Hungarian

Azure Field With Sable Charge

The motif of a sable eagle displayed upon an azure field with high-contrast mullets and decrescents in chief.

  • Veoreos Miklos. Azure, an eagle sable and in chief a decrescent and a mullet of eight points argent. (OSCARLoAR 2017/06)

Use of a sable beast on an azure field, argent decrescents with Or suns, and sable animals transfixed by Or arrows.

  • Rakonczay Gergely. Azure, a boar statant sable transfixed by an arrow bendwise sinister Or and in chief a decrescent argent and a mullet of eight points Or. (OSCAR 1, OSCAR 2, LoAR 2008/01, RfS)

Azure Field With Vert Base and Sable Charges

Use of complex dark or sable charges on azure fields; for green trimounts, mounts, or bases with azure fields, some with dark or sable charges standing on them; for light-colored peripheral stars, often accompanying otherwise low-contrast designs; and for the use of all three design elements together.

  • Victor Ispan. Azure, a raven sable perched atop a trimount vert and in chief two mullets argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2007/03, RfS)

Gules FIELD WITH VERT BASE AND Metal CHARGES

Use of a gules field with green mounts or trimounts.

  • Lada Monguligin, Gules, a sans-serif letter “M” inverted surmounted by a pallet couped argent issuant from a trimount vert. (Kingdom OSCAR, OSCAR, LoAR 2013/03)

Islamic

Arabic Penbox

Evidence of the charges, tinctures, and overall design of this submission, with one exception: there is no evidence of fimbriation in Islamic heraldry.

  • Sajah bint Habushun ibn Ishandiyar al-Hajjaji. Vert, on a fess gules fimbriated between an Arabic penbox and a lozenge a chalice Or. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/03)

Italian (Late)

Azure Field with Vert Trimount

Use of green trimounts on blue background.

  • Cristabell Rose Alwin. Azure, a bear rampant Or atop a trimount vert and in chief three roses Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2017/01)

Vert trimounts on azure fields, as well as trimounts issuant from bases.

  • Fortuné Stykewynd. Azure, a trimount vert issuant from a ford proper, in dexter chief an increscent argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/09)

Azure field with vert mount and several charges standing atop it.

  • Tuathal O’Sheill. Azure, an oak tree between a harp Or and a crane in its vigilance argent, all atop a mount vert. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2017/09)

Azure FIELD WITH Charged Gules Ordinary

A low-contrast central ordinary bearing high-contrast charges.

  • Seraphina Delphino. Azure, on a fess gules three fleurs-de-lys argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2018/04)

Argent Field With Or Charge

A low-contrast metal on metal central ordinary between low contrast secondary charges.

  • Giata Magdalena Alberti. Argent, a fess between three mullets of eight points and a fleur-de-lys Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/04)

Argent Primary with Or Tertiary

Low contrast tertiaries on ordinaries, as well as the use of purpure for the field.

  • Ile du Dragon Dormant, Baronnie de l’. Purpure, on a pale argent a pallet Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/06)

An Or tertiary on a complex argent primary charge.

  • Giata Magdalena Alberti. (Fieldless) On a mullet of eight points argent a fleur-de-lys Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/04)

Argent and Or Fields with Counterchanging

Complex single charges counterchanged on a low contrast divided two metal field.

  • Giata Magdalena Alberti. Per pale argent and Or, a fleur-de-lys counterchanged. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/04)

gules Fields With Sable Charges

Sable animate charges on gules fields, demi-animate charges and animate charges maintaining banners and/or swords.

  • Konrad Kauffman von Regensburg. Gules, a demi-fox sable maintaining a banner Or and a sword argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/10)

Sable FIELDS WITH Gules Ordinaries

A sable field with a gules chief with a complex line, each bearing high-contrast charges.

  • Raffe De Massard. Sable, a bee Or and on a chief embattled gules three fleurs-de-lis Or. (Returned) (OSCAR, LoAR 2017/11)

Vert FieldS With Sable Charges

A sable animate charge on a vert field, high contrast bordures in combination with low contrast primary charges and complex lines of division.

  • Biǫrn Eldiárnsson. Vert, a bear rampant sable within a bordure embattled argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2014/08)

MultiplY-DiviDED Fields And Ordinaries Of More Than Two Tinctures

Use of three tinctures in barry, bendy and paly fields, and the use of a three tincture compony, (and in the LoAR, low-contrast peripheral ordinaries).

  • Richenda du Jardin. Per pale bendy sinister azure, Or and argent and bendy Or, argent and azure, a bordure compony argent, azure and Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2011/01, LOAR 2011/06)

A Rock Cleft By A River

Use of swirling lines to represent a flowing stream, and use of a demi-annulet to represent a bridge.

  • Gilia Maddalena Sofia del Fortuna. Gules, a demi-annulet argent issuant from a rock issuant from base proper cleft palewise by a natural river flowing to base argent. (OSCAR, LOAR 2011/01, RfS)

A Charge Sustained By An Arm Embowed  Proper

Showing charges sustained by an arm embowed proper.

  • Giacomo Fornerigo. Or, a baker’s peel bendwise sinister sable charged with three loaves of bread Or sustained by an arm embowed issuant from sinister proper vested sable, a chief rayonny gules. (OSCAR, LOAR 2014/05, RfS)

Japanese

Roundel Between Roundels

Use of a larger roundel between smaller roundels in annulo.

  • Hosokawa Gentarou Masahiro. Vert, a roundel between eight roundels in annulo Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/12)
  • Amano Zenjirou Nakatsune. Sable, in chief a roundel within six roundels in annulo and in base a barrulet argent. (Returned) (OSCAR 1, OSCAR 2, LOAR)

Use of a small roundel between larger roundels in annulo.

  • Sólveig Þróndardóttir. Badge for Sugawara Miyuki. (Fieldless) An umebachi argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2017/05)

Three Tomoe

Use of three tomoe in annulo with no other charge on the field.

  • Samukawa Mantarou Yukimura. Argent, three tomoe in annulo azure. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/01)

Japanese Crane

Use of the Japanese crane.

  • Kameshima Zentarou Umakai. Argent, a Japanese crane displayed and in base a bar gemel azure. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/04)

Butterfly Volant

Unusual posture for a butterfly.

  • Yoshimizu Kitsutarou Kimimichi. Sable, a butterfly volant fesswise, wings addorsed Or. (OSCAR, LoAR 2016/12)

Portuguese

Gules Field With Azure Border

Charged low-contrast bordures, as well as the use of lions and crescents.

  • Bridget Wynter. Gules, a lion Or and a bordure azure crescenty argent. (OSCAR, LoAR 2015/06)

Traceable Art at Pennsic

The Book of Traceable Heraldic Art made its premier appearance at Pennsic’s Heralds’ Point art tent this year.

I brought printouts of the full thousand-plus page collection with me, which was sleeved into page protectors by the volunteers at the point. While the new collection is not yet complete enough to retire the old Pennsic Traceable Art book, I was pleased to see that it was of practical use for many of the hundreds of armory submissions generated this year.

Throughout the week of activity, the team in the art tent generated useful notes about areas that needed more work, and as the Point was closing up, Signora Beatrice Domenici della Campana and Master Kryss Kostarev took several hours of their time to sit with me and systematically work through the first 430 pages identifying designs which needed correction or could be safely omitted from the version to be used on site next year.

I look forward to incorporating that feedback and continuing to expand the collection over the coming year.