Saturday, 31 August 2013

On Tinctures in Period - Part II: Argent

In the second of the series on Tinctures in period treatises, we look at Silver or White, known in Blazon as Argent.

Dame Juliana Berners - Boke of Saint Albans (1486)
ixus lapis

A shinyng stonn and is calde Silver in armys

The . ix . stone is calde Carbuncle a shynyng stone . Silver hit is calde in armys . The vertue therof is : what gentilman that in his Cotearmure this stone berith . full dowghti glorious & shynyng in his kyngys batayll he shall be The wich stone was reserved in the Serophyns crowne : that was full doughti glorius & shining in his kings batayll of hevyn whan thei faught with Lucifer

John Bossewell - Workes of Armorie (1572)
Silver, termed Argent, is compared to The Moone, and to The Pearle.
Pearles, were the onely meate, wherewith the Jewes lived long, havinge nothing els to eate, when the Citie of Jerusalem was besieged by Tytus, as witnesseth Josephus.

John Ferne - The Blazon of Gentrie (1586)

As with Or, Ferne treats the reader to a thorough treatment of the varied meanings.
The 2. cullor is white, & signifieth in

1 - Planets. - The Moone.
2 - Precious stones. - Margeuerit or pearle.
3 - Vertues. - Hope & innocency.
4 - Celestiall signes. - Scorpio and Pisces.
5 - Months. - October & November
6 - Days of the week. - Monday.
7 - Ages of Man. - Infancy. (The first 7. yeeres.)
8 - Flowres. - Lily and white rose.
9 - Elements. - Water.
10- Sesons of the yeer - Autumne.
11 - Complexions. - Flegmatique.
12 - Numbers. - 10. 11.
13 - Mettailes. - Silver.
In the angelic system given later in the book, Argent is given to Seraphins, with the virtue Full doughty & glorious.

Edmund Bolton - The Elements of Armories (1610)

In all three orders of tinctures, by Upton, Leigh and Scohier, silver Argent ranks second, subordinate only to golden Or, while Bolton concedes that as colours, white is superior to yellow, being the purer of the two. On his own 'throne of colours', Argent ranks second, standing on the second tier alongside Sable.

John Guillim - Display of Heraldrie (1611)
Guillim considers white to be one of the two Simple colours, "to which black is contrary".
The colour white is resembled to the light, and the dignity thereof reckned more worthy then the blacke, by how much the light and the day is of more esteeme then darknesse and the night, whereunto blacke is likened. Furthermore white is accounted more worthy then blacke, in respect of the more worthy use thereof. For men in ancient time were accustomed to note things well and laudably performed (and esteemed worthy to be kept in memorie) with white, and contrarywise whatsoever was holden reprochful or dishonourable, was noted with blacke.
In his table of the names used for the tinctures and their order, Guillim gives Argent the second place, as Argent. Pearle. Luna.

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