list of heraldic charges takes up a representative collection of charges found in heraldry. It is in no way comprehensive.
This article does not cover those charges which are geometrical patterns and resemble partitions of the field; for these, see
Ordinary (heraldry). "Subordinary" charges [edit ]
a shield with three lozenges.
A few simple charges are traditionally, and arbitrarily, classified among the
subordinaries. (All other mobile charges are called common charges.) lozenge fusil mascle (lozenge voided) rustre (lozenge pierced) [1 ] billet [1 ] [2 ] ; annulet , but different tinctures have different names: for example roundels roundel argent are called plates. A roundel barry wavy azure and argent is called a fountain. label is commonly a mark of difference, but also appears as an independent charge. fret: originally woven from three bendlets (dexter) and three bendlets sinister, now usually a single bendlet each way interwoven with a mascle. [1 ] Human figures [edit ] Christ appears in many forms, including as an infant or on the cross. The saints and their attributes. [1 ] Angels and archangels The Devil and demons A man, by default depicted as European The Maure or "blackamoor" is accurately shown as being African Saracen Saxon usually depicted without a beard in Wales [1 ] Turk A woman usually depicted as young, beautiful, and with blond disheveled hair. [1 ] Other persons depicted in national costume. [1 ] Greek gods and allegorical figures a wild man or savage Parts of human bodies [edit ] The head The hand, or hand and arm, is the most common part of the human body to be a charge. [1 ] Feet [5 ] Teeth Tongue [6 ] The heart, even when blazoned "a human heart", always appears like the heart in a deck of cards rather than a natural human heart. A "dug" or woman's breast "distilling drops of milk" famously appears in the arms of the Dodge family, and appeared for a time on the badge of cars made by the Dodge Automotive company. [7 ] Beards [8 ] Testicles: the Neapolitan family of Coglione bore "per fess argent and gules, three pairs of testicles counterchanged". [9 ] Beasts [edit ]
Any animal can be a heraldic charge, although more traditional ones vary in the exactitude with which they resemble the creature as found in nature. Animals depicted naturally are either described as natural or using the
scientific nomenclature. Also included in heraldry are Mythical creatures and chimeras. Predatory beasts [edit ] The lion. The heraldic tyger is an imaginary monster; where natural beast appears is blazoned as a Bengal tiger. [1 ] [10 ] A refers to a lion "passant guardant", rather than a natural leopard, in the languages of French and English heraldry. A leopard's face also occurs, sometimes leopard jessant-de-lys. [1 ] The (domestic) cat, distinguished from the wild cat or "cat-a-mountain" Ungulates [edit ] Other mammals [edit ] Reptiles and amphibians [edit ] The serpent usually depicted nowed. [1 ] The salamander is typically shown as a generic lizard, sometimes with a head of unusual shape often described as "dog-shaped", and always surrounded by flames. The lizard The Biscione Dragon: by default a European one, but also a Chinese dragon. [12 ] Wyvern: similar to a dragon, but with only two legs. Zilant: a form of dragon appearing in Russian heraldry. Invertebrates [edit ]
Combination animals [edit ] Sphinx: depicted with the head and breasts of a woman. Griffin, combining the head (but with ears), chest, wings and forelegs of the eagle with the hindquarters and legs of a lion (the male griffin lacks wings and his body is scattered with spikes). See List of griffins as mascots and in heraldry. Unicorn, having a horse's body, deer's legs, goat's beard, and often a lion's tail The hippogriff is like the griffin except that the lion parts of the griffin are replaced by those of a horse. Harpy Theow is a wolf-like creature but with cloven hoves. The sea-lion is a combination of a lion and a fish. [1 ] Any combination of parts of other animals, e.g. winged reindeer, is possible. [1 ] Birds [edit ]
By far the most frequent heraldic bird is the
eagle. A variant is the alerion, without beak or feet, seen in the arms of the duchy of Lorraine (for which it is an anagram).
Also very frequent is the
martlet, a conventional swallow without feet or beak. Fish and creatures of the sea [edit ]
"Fish" are sometimes only described as "a fish", but the species is often named:
Parts of animals [edit ]
Parts of creatures may also be used as charges.
Plants [edit ] Flowers [edit ] The fleur-de-lis Heraldic roses are shown in a stylised form similar to the wild rose. A rose on top of another rose form a double rose. The lotus flower The thistle Other commonly used flower-like charges (called "foils") include: Trefoil (with three petals; usually slipped, with a stem) Quatrefoil (with four petals) Cinquefoil (with five petals) Sexfoil (with six petals) The septfoil (with seven petals) The double quatrefoil (with eight petals)—in England the rare cadency mark of a ninth son. Trees and their fruits [edit ]
Trees appear as eradicated (showing the roots) or couped. Fruit can appear on a tree, or by itself. Also, leaves and branches appear.
Alder in the coat of arms of
Trees are sometimes merely blazoned as "a tree" but specific trees are mentioned in blazon.
A small group of trees is blazoned as a hurst, grove, wood or thicket.
[2 ] Grain crops and vegetables [edit ] Wheat occurs in the form of "garbs" or sheaves and as ears), though sometimes garbs represent another crop Ears of rye are depicted exactly as wheat, except the ears droop down. "Ginny wheat" or "guinea wheat" (like wheat but with a fatter ear) also exists [19 ] Inanimate charges [edit ] Ships and boats [edit ] Structures [edit ] Fortified buildings Castle, a castle of the generic type consists of two towers connected by an embattled wall (also a charge in heraldry). Varieties occur, such as being triangular or quadrangular. Also, the windows and doors can be of a different tincture, as well as the masonry. Sometimes they have domed towers. [1 ] Towers can be combined with castles or have their own towers. They vary in the same way as castles. Portcullis [1 ] columns arches Windmills [1 ] Dovecotes Tents [24 ] Headgear [edit ] Music [edit ]
Musical instruments include:
Weapons and tools [edit ] Clothing and other personal items [edit ] Notes [edit ] External links [edit ]