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Charges: The Human Figure

Though found often as crests and supporters, the human figure simply used as a charge upon a shield is not often found. Instances of human figures that do occurr include Christ upon the cross and images of Saints. Representations of the Virgin Mary with Jesus are not as uncommon as other instances of human figures. Like birds and beasts, the position of the figure in a charge takes on different meanings and names.

  • savage's head
    a savage's head

  • blackamoor or Moor's head
    a blackamoor or Moor's head

  • Saracen's head
    a Saracen's head

  • woman
    a woman's head and bust

  • Virgin Mary and child
    the Virgin Mary and Christ Child

The human arm, in whole or in part, is the portion of the human form most often represented in heraldry. When shown bare, the arm is blazoned as proper, while a clothed arm is termed either habited or vested. If the arm is clothed and the cuff is of a different color, it is blazoned as cuffed. The hand is usually either tan or peach — any other color is blazoned as gloved. When a hand or arm is shown in armor it is assumed to be plate, unless specified as chain or scale. If the armor is decorated with gold it is said to be garnished or.

  • dexter hand
    a dexter hand

  • sinister hand
    a sinister hand

  • dexter hand in benediction
    a dexter hand in benediction

  • arm embowed
    an arm embowed

  • arm embowed to the dexter
    an arm embowed
    to the dexter

  • arm embowed fessways
    an arm embowed

  • arm embowed, upper part in fess
    an arm embowed
    the upper part in fess

  • arm counter-embowed
    two arms counter‑embowed

  • arms counter-bowed and interlaced
    two arms counter‑embowed and interlaced

  • arm embowed in armor
    an arm embowed
    in armor

  • arm couped at elbow
    an arm couped at the elbow

  • cubit arm
    a cubit arm

  • cubit arm habited
    a cubit arm habited

  • cubit arm in armor
    a cubit arm in armor,
    the hand in a gauntlet

Other body parts which appear, although less frequently, include: legs (and boots), a woman's breast, an eye, a full skeleton or the skull alone.

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