The three main devices (symbols) in the Hare blazon are the bars, chief and dragon. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.4. 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 5. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.6.
The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield 7, usually in groups of two or three (any more and there would be confusion with barry, a treatment of horizontal lines of alternating colours). Bars can be a distinctive and easily recognised device, early examples include those awarded by Henry III of England to the family MAUDYT Argent, two bars gules.
The chief is an area across the top of the field 8. It appears in many different forms and can itself be charged with other charges and ordinaries, 9, being treated almost as if it were a completely separate area. In its simplest form it can be clearly identified. Early examples include the award by Henry III of England to the knight Robert de MORTEYN BRETON of Ermine, a chief gules.
Dragons have a long history in Heraldry and indeed have come to symbolise entire countries. Originally they were perhaps based on garbled descriptions of crocodiles given by returning travellers but soon developed a widely accepted representation. 10 Wade suggests that their appearance signifies “a most valiant defender of treasure”, a trait of dragons that we are still familiar with today. 11