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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

First notation: 1524 W polu czerwonym podkowa bez krzyża, a pod nią wyrychtowana żeleźcem w g"rę strzała rozdarta, w hełmie trzy pi"ra strusie.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Nieczaj Coat of Arms and Family Crest

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Nieczaj Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Nieczaj blazon are the horseshoe and arrow. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and gules.

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) 1. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”3. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 4. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).5

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 6. The horseshoe is a typical example of this. Sometimes these objects were chosen for the familiarity they would have for the obsever, helping them identify the owner. 7. In addition, the horseshoe, which is one the earliest symbols found in heraldry 8 can be seen as a “safeguard against evil spirits” and may still be found nailed above doorways today. 9

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 10. The regular prescence of the arrow, both singly and in groups is evidence of this. In British heraldry a lone arrow normally points downward, but in the French tradition it points upwards. 11. The presence of an arrow in a coat of arms is reckoned to indicate “martial readiness” by Wade. 12

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References

  • 1 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 2 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 6 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P281
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 100
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Horse-shoe
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P112
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 89
  • 11 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Arrow
  • 12 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P111