Sable (heraldry)

Sable (heraldry)

:"This article describes the heraldic tincture sable. For other uses, see Sable (disambiguation)."

In heraldry, sable is the tincture black, and belongs to the class of dark tinctures, called "colours". In engravings and line drawings, it is sometimes depicted as a region of crossed horizontal and vertical lines or else marked with sa. as an abbreviation.

The name derives from the black fur of the sable, an animal.

Sable is said to represent the following:

* Of jewels, the diamond
* Of heavenly bodies, Saturn
** (The planet Saturn is further associated with the metal lead in traditional alchemical/occultistic lore)

able in Central Europe

Sable is considered a "colour" in British and French heraldry, and contrasts with lighter "metals", argent and Or. However, in the heraldry of Germany, Polish heraldry and other parts of central Europe, sable is not infrequently placed on colour fields. As a result, a sable cross may appear on a red shield, or a sable bird may appear on a blue or a red field, as in the arms of Albania.

In Hungary, for example, one can find examples of sable on gules and azure fields as early as the sixteenth century in the arms of the family Kanizsai (granted in 1519) [cite book
last= Nyulászi-Straub
first= Éva
title=Öt évszázad címerei (Wappen aus fünf Jahrhunderten)
location= Szekszárd
publisher= Babits Kiadó
id=ISBN 963-9015-97-0
] : "álló, csücskös talpú tárcsapajzs kék mezejében, lebegő arany saslábon fekete sasszárny, jobbról ezüst félholdtól, balról nyolcágú arany csillagtól kísérve." (That is: "Azure, an eagle's wing sable taloned Or between a decrescent argent and a sun Or.") Another early Hungarian example was granted in 1628 to the family Karomi Bornemisza [cite book
last= Nyulászi-Straub
first= Éva
title=Öt évszázad címerei (Wappen aus fünf Jahrhunderten)
location= Szekszárd
publisher= Babits Kiadó
id=ISBN 963-9015-97-0
] : "álló, tojásdad pajzs vágott, felső vörös mezejében jobbra fordult fejű, vágásvonalon álló, koronás fekete sas, az alsó kék mezőben fekete bölényfej, szájában hallall." (That is: "Per fess gules, an eagle displayed sable crowned Or, and azure, a buffalo's head cabossed sable maintaining in its mouth a fish (argent?)").

Polish examples abound as early as the fifteenth century. Józef Szymański [cite book
last= Szymański
first= Józef
title= Herbarz: Średniowiecznego Rycerstwa Polskiego
location= Warszawa
publisher= Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN
id=ISBN 83-01-09797-3
] includes no fewer than seven examples of sable primary charges on either gules or azure fields out of the approximately 200 shields from this period whose blazons are known. These include the arms of Korwin: "Azure, a raven sable with a circlet or in its beak."; Kownaty: "Gules, a trumpet sable with a cord or, a Passion cross of the same issuing from its opening."; and Słońce: "Gules, a sphere radiant sable, its centre argent.". In addition to the seven major examples, he describes occasional variants for the arms of some ródy which also use sable charges on azure or gules fields.

Sable charges on gules fields also appear in the armory used in Lithuania. This is not surprising, since a significant fraction of Lithuania's coats of arms are of Polish origin [cite book
last= Rimša
first= Edmundas
year= 2005
title= Heraldry: past to present
location= Vilnius
publisher= Versus Aureus
id=ISBN 9955-601-73-6
] , so there is a certain similarity of style. Among these coats are those of Great Žemaitija: "a black bear with an argent chain on its neck on a field gules."

ee also

*Sable (the animal)


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