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Posted on 10/04/2013

As I have recorded in previous articles, the crest was made from light wood, animal hides ( leather) or paper mache and mounted on top of the helmet. It helped to make the rider appear much taller. The issue of where the crest was attached to the mantling soon became a problem. In an effort to make everything look seamless, a wreath, or torse was added to the base of the crest to hide unsightly joining. The wreath was simply two twisted pieces of cloth, containing the primary colors of the arms. (One color, one metal such as white or yellow) It can be seen in most modern representations of coats of arms (family crests) as a series of colors just below the crest area.

Victorian romance novels changed the public notion of the torse. In books such as Mallory’s “Morte d’Arthur”, medieval ladies would tear off a sleeve and give it, as some sort of good luck charm, to a knight. He would wind it into a torse and place it upon his head, surrounding the crest. Lovely sentiment….However, it didn’t happen. There were instances of ladies sleeves ( known in heraldry as a maunch)  occurring in coats of arms, but it’s fanciful to suggest that a knight, accustomed to showing how tough he was, would adorn his armament with a bunch of ladies cast-offs?

At www.shieldandcrest.com we love our artform, unlike the rest, we hand-paint all our own work, and we are available every day to answer any question you may have about heraldry (We even pay for your call) Toll-Free (866) 289-2798.As I have recorded in previous articles, the crest was made from light wood, animal hides ( leather) or paper mache and mounted on top of the helmet. It helped to make the rider appear much taller. The issue of where the crest was attached to the mantling soon became a problem. In an effort to make everything look seamless, a wreath, or torse was added to the base of the crest to hide unsightly joining. The wreath was simply two twisted pieces of cloth, containing the primary colors of the arms. (One color, one metal such as white or yellow) It can be seen in most modern representations of coats of arms (family crests) as a series of colors just below the crest area.

Victorian romance novels changed the public notion of the torse. In books such as Mallory’s “Morte d’Arthur”, medieval ladies would tear off a sleeve and give it, as some sort of good luck charm, to a knight. He would wind it into a torse and place it upon his head, surrounding the crest. Lovely sentiment….However, it didn’t happen. There were instances of ladies sleeves ( known in heraldry as a maunch)  occurring in coats of arms, but it’s fanciful to suggest that a knight, accustomed to showing how tough he was, would adorn his armament with a bunch of ladies cast-offs?

At www.shieldandcrest.com we love our artform, unlike the rest, we hand-paint all our own work, and we are available every day to answer any question you may have about heraldry (We even pay for your call) Toll-Free (866) 289-2798.


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