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1.1 Origins and characteristics 

CHARACTERISTICS OF COAT-OF-ARMS

ARMS ARE DISPLAYED ON A SHIELD 

The shield can be of various shapes and it can be surrounded by many other components, but it is the essential part of armorial bearings.
 
                  Broken shield variety

ARMS ARE RECORDED AND REGULATED 

Recording and regulating arms was the responsibilty of the heralds (hence "heraldry") who originated as roving minstrels. Heralds announced knights and their bearings in tournaments.
 
 
 

A minstrel

A herald (on right)

Knights in tournament

 

The College of Arms in England and the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland are responsible for all heraldic affairs in these realms and they issue Grants of Arms on behalf of the Sovereign.
 
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