Heraldic Display

By Eleazar ha-Levi


Okay, you’ve registered a device or a badge. Congratulations; it certainly took long enough didn’t it? Now that you have that device or that badge, what are you going to do with it? Heraldic display is a big part of the game, creating the “feel” of being in a medieval time and place.


If you’re a rattan fighter, you’re planning to paint it on your shield. If you haven’t already. You may want to paint it on your surcoat, also. But what else?


Here are a few other places where a fighter, rattan or rapier, an archer, or a wielder of thrown weapons might consider putting their device.


· armor bags

· arrow boxes

· body armor

· bow bags/cases

· bow/archery stands

· cases for throwing stars

· helms

· knife sheaths

· quivers

· sword scabbards

· tourney chests


A group might also put its device on the markers for tourney-field ropes or archery or on thrown weapons targets.


Before we go further, let’s briefly discuss the difference between a device and a badge. While there is no restriction on use in the SCA, there are times when it is more appropriate (historically speaking) to use one's heraldic badge instead of one's device and vice-versa.


The general rule of thumb is that your device says, "Hello, this is me." and your badge says, "Hello, this belongs to me."


As such, place your device on things that you personally wear or which represent you: armor, clothes, banners, tabard of personal herald speaking in your name, rings, stationary, etc.


Place your badge on other things: books, tents, carts, clothes of retainers, etc.


You can use needlework (embroidery, cross-stitch, applique), silk screening, painting, carving, burning or other methods to put your device or badge on anything. Here are some long lists of examples of where they can go. It includes both in Period and mundane items; both the scabbard for your sword and the case for your cellphone.


General Items

• banners, pennons and standards

• book covers

• book spines/binding

• bookplates

• charters, scrolls and other documents

• coronets

• favors

• hallmarks

• inkwells

• maps

• notebooks

• personal prayer books

• portraits

• scribal tools

• tabard/baldric with your badge for your retainers

• tabard/baldric with your device for your personal herald

• tents/pavilion (roof & walls)

• tokens

• wax seals

Clothing & Accessories

• armbands

• baldrics

• belts

• busk (for corset) carving

• cloaks

• garters

• gloves

• hats

• jewelry (including bracelets, necklaces, medallions and rings)

• pouches

• sideless surcoats

• shoes and boots

• stockings

• t-shirts

• tunics

• under-garments


Domestic Items (both your campsite at events and your mundane home)

• bathtubs

• bedspreads

• candle holders

• carry-bags

• chairbacks

• cookware

• cooler covers

• door frames

• door stops

• doors

• drinking vessels

• eating plates

• feast gear boxes

• firepits

• glass jars

• headboards of beds

• knobs for cabinets, doors, etc.

• lanterns

• lintels

• napkins

• nightstands

• outer painting for a diptych

• pillowcases

• pitchers

• place mats

• pot-holders

• rugs

• serving platters

• shower curtains

• stained glass windows

• stall-plates

• stationary

• table runners

• tablecloths

• tapestry

• throw pillows

• throws/comforters

• tole stools

• towels (can be cross-stitched)

• trinket boxes

• wall hangings/plaques in various mediums

• water bottle covers

• woven into lace

Animal Items

• equestrian items (caparisons, saddles, tack equipment)

• pet accessories (leashes, collars, tags, carriers, blankets, coats)

• swanmarks (you carve these on the bill of the swan; be VERY careful-)


Miscellaneous Items

• birdcages (there are period examples)

• bumper stickers

• car carriers

• Christmas ornaments/Chanukah menorahs

• clock/watch faces

• commode lid decoration

• computer background and/or screen saver

• computer and cellphone cases

• decorative plates and cups

• doormats

• drink coasters

• etchings on blades, etc.

• false fingernails

• game boxes and game pieces

• grave markers

• hair "thingies"

• magnets (small for refrigerator, large for side of car)

• mounting block (step for getting on horses)

• pens

• stone cairns

• tattoos/body art

• tiki torches

• toys (children's wagons, hobbyhorses, juggling equipment, cube puzzles, game boards)

• vehicles: side of tourney carts, pushcarts, wagons and wains plus modern vehicles

• wallpaper stencil

• web pages


A number of these things apply to group uses of heraldry. A household or order, a shire or a barony can put its own device on tents and coins, herald’s tabards, official documents, even (for baronies) the coronets of its baron and/or baroness, etc.


Groups should also consider stands with hooks to hold a number of small copies of individual devices. These be used to show who is competing in a tourney, all competitors and those currently fighting. At a campsite such a stand can also show who is in camp at a given time and who is out doing whatever they might be doing.


Here are a few links regarding heralding display.There are a lot more out on the Internet.


Period Examples

Women’s Heraldic Surcoats: http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/surcotes/heraldicsurcotes.html

Men and Women’s Heraldic Garb: https://www.threegoldbees.com/collegia-notes/heraldic-frocks/

Heraldic Standards: https://www.threegoldbees.com/collegia-notes/heraldic-standards/

· This includes pictures of SCA standards and tips on how to design and make one of your own


Useful Discussions

A Discussion of Heraldic Embroidery: http://www.florilegium.org/files/HERALDRY/Herald-Embro-art.html

A Discussion of Applique: http://www.florilegium.org/files/TEXTILES/applique-msg.html

Favors and Tokens: http://www.modaruniversity.org/favors.htm

Personal Display for Viking Age Personas: https://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/display.htm


How-To-Do-It -- Banners

Making Heraldic Banners: http://www.modaruniversity.org/Banners.htm

No Sew Heraldic Banners: http://tasha.htmlplanet.com/SCA/banners.html

Making a Banner Stand: https://www.kiteplans.org/planos/bannerstand/bannerstand.html


How-To-Do-It – Everything Else

Heraldic Tabard: https://www.threegoldbees.com/projects/tabard-howto/

Heraldic Cloak Devices: https://www.threegoldbees.com/projects/heraldic-cloak-devices/

Heraldic Dog’s Coat: https://www.threegoldbees.com/projects/heraldic-dog-coat/

Heraldic Belt: https://www.threegoldbees.com/projects/heraldic-plaque-belt/

How to Paint Your Tent: http://dragonwing.biz/col9809.htm




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Email: herald@blakrose.eastkingdom.org