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Re: Heraldic help

Poster: Robert J Welenc <rjwelenc@erols.com>

>>> >> 2) The drawing is considerably more important that the blazon.
>>> <snip>
>>> Why is this?  I'm just curious, because frankly the ability to write is
>>> more common in the SCA than the ability to draw.

>>And true, while more people can write than they can draw, as someone said,
>>more people can draw than they can blazon properly.
>But the blazon is the herald's job.  Are you saying the local herald might
>not have a clue?

While I cannot make any judgement on any specific herald, unfortunately,
sometimes this is the correct answer.  

Corpora says, "Every group MUST have a herald."  Period.  It does not say
that every group must have a _competant_ herald.  All too often, especially
in new groups, somebody goes to the bathroom and comes back to find himself
elected the herald.  He may or may not have any skill or even interest in
the job.  Such "warm-body" heralds  are probably responsible for a lot of
the bad reputation that the job of herald has accumulated.  He submits
something illegal, it bounces, and he doesn't have enough training to tell
the submitter why.
>>> What's the rationale behind this?  I'd really like to know. I would think
>>> going by the words would make it easier on the heralds.  Goodness knows,
>>> it's hard enough finding someone to draw up your device, much less draw it
>>> up well- it takes time and skill.
>>Many of the senior heralds have mentioned on this thread that it is the
>>drawing that they use, not the written description, including the Laurel
>>Herald in one of the emails (It was the Laurel Herald, wasn't it?
>>Maybe the Triton Herald.  Oh dear, see: threads last longer than a day
>>and the specifics just drain right out of my head...).  No doubt they
>>could explain the rationale better than I -- I can kinda understand why,
>>but describing how it applies is seeming to elude me this afternoon...
Laurel registers the picture for a number of reasons:

1) Presumably the submitter has seen the picture and knows that this is
what s/he wants.

2) Sometimes the same device  can be blazoned two or more different ways:

	"Gules, on a saltire azure fimbriated thirteen mullets argent."
	"Gules, a saltire argent charged with another azure charged with thirteen
		 mullets argent."
	"Gules, a saltire argent voided azure mullety argent."

All of these heraldically describe the Confederate battle flag. (Chosen
because almost everybody is familiar with it and it fits the parameters
under discussion.  Please no flames whether this is a good/bad symbol.)

3) Tradition!  Judging from the Ordinary, some things registered in the
early Dark Ages of the SCA were so weird that they literally couldn't be
blazoned properly.  I'm not the only herald that looks at some of the
blazons and says "Huh?!"

4) Absolute certainty of what that submission actually is.  (And hence the
need for a recognizable drawing!)

I believe the Great Seahorse Identification Project was mentioned earlier
in this thread.  As a refresher for those who may have missed it: there are
two different charges that use the term "seahorse".  One is the little
fishy creature that Atlantia uses for various badges, blazoned in the past
as 'natural seahorse' or 'hippocampus'.  The other is a heraldic composite
monster, the front half of a horse joined to a fish tail, blazoned as
'seahorse' or 'hippocampus'.  The two charges do not conflict with each
other.  While running a check for a proposed submission the College of Arms
discovered this inconsistent use of 'hippocampus'.  (It appears that the
problem developed when there was a change in the Laurel office; one Laurel
used the term to mean the fish, and one of his successors used it to mean
the monster.)  ALL the files that used 'seahorse' or 'hippocampus' were
pulled and the beasties positively identified BY THE PICTURE.  Those that
used the term 'hippocampus' will be re-blazoned as either 'seahorse'
(defined now as the monster) or 'natural seahorse' (the fish).

Without the pictures on file, it would have been impossible to straighten
out.  (And to those who may be thinking 'so what?" would you like your
spiffy new scroll to have the wrong picture on it because the poor scribe
didn't know which of two choices the blazon meant?)

Alanna Volchevo Lesa
Partan Pursuivant, Barony of Lochmere
Laurel Staff Minion
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