The two main devices (symbols) in the Ackerson blazon are the bend and dove. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and sable.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.1. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 2. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.3.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 4. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 5. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 6.
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 7. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). 8. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 9.
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name 10. In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The dove is an example of this, closely related birds such as pigeon and stock dove are frequently mentioned in arms but visually almost identical. 11 The dove itself is said to represent “loving constancy and peace” 12, the other birds possibly some play on words with the family name (PIDGEON for example).