The four main devices (symbols) in the Luther blazon are the bar, buckle, sword and arm in armour. The two main tinctures (colors) are sable and argent.
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 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. 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 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
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) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The bar is a thin, horizontal stripe across the centre of the shield 6A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Bar, 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.
Although we expect to find fierce creatures and fearsome weapons depicted in a coat of arms this is not always the case – sometimes simple household objects are used 7A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner, and sometimes they were used because of some association with the owner, or a similarity to the family name. 8Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100 The buckle may fall into this category, it is present in a surprising number of different forms and has a long heritage in use, 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Buckle being considered honourable bearings and are said to “signify victorious fidelity in authority”. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P115
Given the martial nature of the origins of Heraldry, in the identification of knights and men-at-arms it can come as no surprise that mediaeval weaponry of all types are frequently to be found in a coat of arms 11Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89. Indeed, the sheer variety of different swords 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P302 can be bewildering and expaining the difference between a scimitar and a falchion is perhaps best left to the expert! If a charge is described just as a simple sword then it will have a straight blade and cross handle, that may be of a different colour, and, unless specified, points upwards. Wade, quoting the earlier writer Guillim, signifies the use of the sword as representing “Government and Justice”.