The three main devices (symbols) in the Doliwa blazon are the rose, bend and proboscis. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, argent and gules .
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.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 3. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 4.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”5. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 6. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.7.
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 8. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. 9
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 10. 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). 11. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 12.
A term probably unfamiliar to many readers, proboscis is a term often found in the heraldry of continental Europe and represents the trunk of an elephant. They are exclusively found in pairs, and only in the crest above the shield in a full achievement of arms. The mouth may be a different colour, and in some cases may hold objects such as ostrich feathers. Little is actually known about their origin or meaning, an interesting mystery for future heraldic scholars to address.