Thursday, April 17, 2014

Word of the Day -- Tincture

In heraldry, tinctures are the colours used to emblazon a coat of arms. These can be divided into several categories including light tinctures called metals, dark tinctures called colours, nonstandard colours called stains, patterns called furs, and "proper". A charge tinctured proper (also sometimes termed "natural") is coloured as it would be found in nature.

One of the few fundamental rules of heraldry is that metals must not be placed upon other metals and colours must not be placed upon other colours, while furs and proper can sometimes be placed upon either or both. This is referred to as the rule of tincture.

Nonstandard colours called stains were introduced in the late Middle Ages, but have largely been shunned as contrary to the heraldic spirit of bold images and bright, contrasting colours. A peculiar fad of the Renaissance sought to couple each tincture with an associated planet, gemstone, flower, astrological sign, etc., but this practice was soon abandoned and is now regarded as wildly divergent from the science of heraldry. The 19th century saw the rise of "landscape heraldry" and extensive use of charges tinctured "proper", especially in augmentations (and more often in German heraldry than English), but this practice too has been deprecated as essentially unheraldic.

No comments: