The three main devices (symbols) in the Bruin blazon are the eagle, lion passant and escallop. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, guttee de sang and sable .
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2.
The gutte or goutte is an elongated tear-drop shape with wavy sides and usually appears in large number spread evenly across the field. 3 Some frequently do they occur that special names have arisen for the various colours, guttee de sang being gules (or red) for its obvious resemblence to split blood.
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.
Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period 7. They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference 8 as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject 9, but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!
There can be no animal more clearly associated with Heraldry than the lion, majestic King of the Beasts. Originally it appeared only in one pose, erect, on one paw, with the others raised 10 but such was the popularity of this figure, and the need to distinguish arms from each other, that it soon came to be shown in an enormous range of forms 11. The lion passant is an example of these modified form, showing the creature on all fours, as if walking proudly. In common with all reprensentations of the lion it can be taken to be an “emblem of deathless courage”. 12
The escallopoccurs often in arms, represented as the outside of the shell, sometimes “fluted” of a different colour 13. It has been part of heraldic tradition almost from the beginning of the art, Henry III of England awarded Gules, 3 escallopes argent to Herbert de CHAMBERLEYNE in the 13th century, and it is present in the heraldry of almost all countries 14. It is believed that they were adopted as badges of those going to the Holy Land and can be found in the arms of many a crusading family. Hence Wade’s suggested association of the scallop with those that “complete long journeys to far countries” 15.