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BEHIND THE SHIELD - THE STORY OF HERALDRY

INTRODUCTION

Coat of arms started as a practical need of the medieval knight to identify himself following the introduction of the closed helm that covered his face. Recording and regulating arms became the responsibility of the king's heralds, hence heraldry: the occupation and study concerned with armorial bearings. Heraldry developed into a well-defined system of symbolism that continues to exist and flourish centuries after the era of knights in shining armours was over.

This exhibit is about heraldry, and I chose to focus on the story behind the armorial bearings rather than present a technical guide. The exhibit starts with definitions and an historical review, followed by basic concepts and terminology of heraldry and the practical aspect of its modern use. This leads us to the title of the exhibit: what can we learn about the person or corporate body that stands behind the shield - information such as history, family ties, social status and occupation can be learned from analyzing the heraldic achievement.


The full armorial bearings of Sweden

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