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Re: heraldry rules

Poster: Gorm of Berra <gormofberra@mindspring.com>

Michael and MJ Houghton wrote:

> As a "simple" question, where do you draw the line between yellow and
> orange? Yellow is an heraldic tincture, while orange is not a standard
> tincture (in SCA practice). I was at the Laurel meeting in June when
> several submissions showed up with a yellow that was decidedly orange.
> Some were returned for recoloring, while others were deemed to be barely
> acceptable. The arguing over whether that particular shade was clearly
> orange or not took a fair bit of time. In the end, it came down to a
> judgement call by Laurel.
> It is good to be aware fo the rules and to attempt to stay within the lines,
> but sometimes the lines are not a clear as they may seem. This is not
> an argument to try to draw the lines more precisely; that is a fools errand.

<some snippage>

This sort of thing strikes me as exceptionally easy to solve given the
current truths of the SCA Heraldry System:  (excuse the parenthetical
comments if they seem demeaning, I'm assuming not everyone knows

1.  The Emblazons (the pictures of the device) of registered devices are
NOT available easily to the average group herald, they are stored with
Laurel, but they are not published.

2.  The Blazons (the word pictures, or descriptions of the device)ARE
quite available to every herald, either in printed form or in any one of
a number of on-line databases.

3.  Heralds do NOT have the power or authority to prevent anyone from
displaying any device they please, registered or unregistered,
accurately drawn or inaccurately drawn.

4.  Only someone with significant knowledge of Heraldry is familiar
enough with the rules and regulations and precedents to be "Culture
Shocked" by a device that may have misdrawings that aren't period (a
unicornate horse, for example), as long as an attempt is made

5.  We rarely, if ever, have the sorts of mass battles and confusion
that made Heraldry a life or death matter.  In battle, our armies are
marked in another way (red and blue tape, or such) that makes
identifying someone via their device less critical.

6.  Anyone can, given sufficient education and time, learn the
mathmatics and methodology behind correct Blazoning.  Not everyone has
sufficient artistic skill to draw an emblazon adequately (especially not
in a 5" by 6" shield shape) so that it is inherently obvious what was
meant.  There are tools available that make the process easier, but
there is always an art to it that can escape some folks (I count myself
amongst the artistically challenged)

Given these 6 realities, why can't we just trust the submitter?  If they
say that that horse-like blob with a spike on the head is a unicorn,
fine, let it be a unicorn.  If the color on the picture is orange, but
they say it is Or (yellow/gold), interpret it as Or, and conflict check

The way to tell this is through the submitted blazon from the local
herald.  Yes, correct obvious errors, and return violations (things like
color on color, slot machine heraldry, conflicts, nonperiod charges,
etc), but if the blazon submitted is legitimate, and the picture
submitted is a legitimate drawing of said blazon, then let it through.  

This would eliminate the annoying returns.  Few submitters feel bad
about returns for legitimate reasons such as conflicts, nonperiod
charges, or such, but "returned for redraw" should *never* be done
unless there is no way that the picture could be interpreted the same
way as the blazon.

Just my thoughts, yours may, and probably do vary,

Gorm of Berra
Struggling Coronet herald 
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