The Composition of the Coat of Arms part 4

Coat of arms with supportersThe next item in the composition of the Coat of Arms is the lambrequin or mantling at the sides of the shield. This is the flowing drapery arrangement which can be seen in most drawings of Coats of Arms, issuing from the helmet and flowing around the whols arms. The origin of the mantling is again, like many things in Heraldry, very practical. In the burning heat of the Middle East when the Crusades were fought the helmet became very hot and tiring and the mantling began like the old covering for the back of the neck. It was extended to cover a large part of the armor and it was found to be useful not only in protecting from the heat but in catching the sword points of opponents. The colors of the mantling are in general the primary color and primary metal of the shield.

Supporters are perhaps among the most familiar heraldic objects. Supporters are the figures on either side of the coat of arms which hold the shield and appear to support it. They are usually human or animal figures, both real and imaginary, supporters are rarely inanimate abjects. It is thought that they originated from the desire of artists and engravers to show the shield actually upheld by something, and to fill in the spaces surrounding the drawing of the coat of arms. In Britain the use of supporters is strictly controlled under the laws of arms and their use is confined to peers, Knights of the Garter, Knights of the Thistle, Knights of St. Patrick, Knights Grand Cross, Knights Grand Commander and certain Knights of the British Empire. In Scotland the use of supporters is much more widespread, not only peers but also private gentleman of ancient lineage amy often be entitled to supporters on the grounds of ancient usage.

New Zealand coat of arms

1 comment

  • Celia Benavidez

    Couldn’t find the name for the “lambrequin” anywhere! Plenty of Coat of Arms that bear them but a description…not so much. Grateful for the clarification. Thank you.

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