Vary Edges

As heraldry developed artists became more decorative in their designs, which also had the fortunate side effect of allowing many more variations in the design of shields. In particular, many of the simple designs included long straight edges and these looked perfect for a little fancy embellishment.

Consider for example the division per pale (remember that?), A simple split of the shield into two areas side by side. Instead of using a straight line, why not have a wavy one?

per pale wavy vert and or

In common with much of blazonry, the variation comes after the thing it is describing, so the division above is described as per pale wavy.

A quick test for you - what is the full blazon for this shield? Recall, it needs two colours, so do you remember the heraldic names for green and gold? And where should they go in the blazon?

Per pale wavy vert and or

As well as wavy, artists created sawtooth patterns (indented), a curved edged (arched), battlements (embattled) and many others, some very ornate. The complete set that DrawShield implements can be seen in the visual catalog as usual.

So what we apply these variant edge types to? We can use them on most of the divisions, and many of the larger ordinaries. The main limitation is that the lines to be modified must be straight and vertical, horizontal or at 45 degrees 1. Also, you will find that some edges don't work very well in some situations, often where lines join at acute angles. If this happens to you, try a different variant edge, there are lots to choose from!

1 This is not a heraldic limitation but due to my lack of geometrical programming skills!

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