This is an article about Heraldry. Blazon is also a term used in Romantic Poetry.
In Heraldry, a Blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms that enables a person to construct or reconstruct the appropriate image. A coat of arms is therefore not primarily defined by a picture, but rather by the wording of its blazon.
The term blazon may also refer to a formal description of other objects, such as banners, flags, and seals.
To ensure that the pictures people draw after reading the descriptions are accurate and reasonably alike, blazons follow a set of rules:
- The first thing the blazon describes is the tincture (colour) of the field (background). In some cases of "landscape heraldry" all or part of the field is some sort of landscape.
- Next the blazon describes the placement and tinctures of the different charges (objects) on the shield. The charges are described from the shield's top to the base and from dexter (Latin: "right") to sinister ("left"), defined from the shield-bearer's point of view, not the observer's. (The shield-bearer's left is the viewer's right and vice versa).
For example, one might emblazon Gules, a bend Or by drawing the following, a red field with a type of charge called a "bend" (diagonal division of a particular width) of tincture "Or" (gold):
A given coat-of-arms may be drawn in many different ways, all considered equivalent, just as the letter "A" may be printed in many different fonts while still being the same letter. For example, the shape of the shield is almost always immaterial.