Heraldic Principles in Relation to Our Arms

The first coats-of-arms appeared, but still in isolated instances, beginning with the middle of the 12th century. Definite heraldic rules became recognizable for the first time in the second half of the 13th century; they developed, especially favored by the existence of tournaments, and achieved in the 15th century the highest flowering of the art of arms. With the decline in the practical uses of heraldic weapons there began in the 17th century a decline in the appplication of the heraldic rules. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the old art of arms received a new impetus through scientific study.

The oldest, still-extant representations of our arms are found on seals of the year 1377. They are shield-seals, which besides the circular inscription around the edge bear only a shield. From 1404 on we find on our old seals the whole coat of arms, comprising the shield and the helmet with its ornament or "honor" or "crest"
The beginning of the art of arms is recognized by the fact that people began variously to divide and paint the family shield for purposes of recognition, or to provide the shields with stylized figures.

Our two shield-seals from 1377 are basically different. The one shows a round figure, to this day unexplained that only once more, in 1393, made its appearance. the other shield-seal, however, shows us the "parted", that is, the perpendicularly divided shield in the colors silver and black. This silver and black parted shield then remained dominant. Nevertheless it meets us in 1553 augmented by a red border (shield-edge) and later became more and more commonly represented.
Also the border comes forward early as an example of shield differentiation. According to heraldic rules its breadth must be limited to about a seventh of the shield's breadth, with the border-edge parallel to the edge of the shield. The one-seventh measure is, whether simple, doubled, or halved, useful also for many other shield differentiations. If the shield border bears only a fourteenth of the breadth of the shield, then it is to be designated as a staff-border. These distinguishing terms of "border" and "staff-border" belong to the heraldic speech, which ---- when it is applied --- must be rightly applied.

Our arms regulation of 4 Oct 1902 had to do with "border". By this regulation a feature of the design originating in 1900 was cancelled, which provided the shield with a staff-border. Since by word-distinctions of this kind alone the wording of the arms-description becomes definitely standard, we depict our augmented arms regularly with a border. The "about" a seventh phrase of the above-cited rule permits us a little leeway in displaying the ancient colors, silver and black, which are so full of meaning for us.
To helmets the science of heraldry applies the terms battle-helmets and tournament helmets. In early Gothic representationof arms are chosen mostly the pot-helmet or the bucket-helmet. Tournament-helmet heraldry employs the pointed helmet out of the time of lance-tournaments, and the bow-helmet out of the time of sword- and mace-tournaments. The pot-helmet covered the head to the neck; the bucket-helmet lay loosely upon the shouldes. Tournament helmets were screwed to the armor at the breast and back.

In the representations of our arms appear the bucket-helmet, which developed from the pot-helmet, as well as the pointed helmet and the bow-helmet, each corresponding to the style of the chosen time.
The helmet cover evidently came into use out of necessity, to protect the metallic helmet against the rays of the sun. It was originally utilitarian, short, and smooth-edged. When the tournament equipment began to grow gorgeous, however, the helmet cover became more and more of a show-piece, and was correspondingly more richly represented in art, until finally in the Renaissance style arms it became a purely ornamental, symbolic decoration piece, whose origin could hardly be recognized. The helmet cover belongs to the heraldic helmet and is, corresponding to the main colors of the shield, two-colored, with the metallic colors (silver, gold) mostly within.

Our helmet cover is, corresponding with the colors of the family arms, and corresponding in a special way with the chief colors of the augmented arms, black and silver. (The helmet cover in the arms of the twig of our family who were imperial counts from 1715 to 1887 is black and golden; heraldically false, but in the declining time of heraldry was so permitted by imperial grant.)
Tassels (cover-tassels) do not belong to arms, but came into use in the pictorial representation of arms when a rather unhandsome transition from helmet or crest is to be bridged or decorated. Tassels are small ornaments wovwn out of the two-colored material of the cover-cloth; out of them the crest seems to grow, or among them the crest rests.

We show our arms without tassels, although the foregoing rules for the display or arms do justify their use.
Helmet crowns (see their treatment under A Few Remarks on Crowns) are of the same subordinate rank as cover-tassels.

In the arms of both of our lines of counts helmet crowns appear, because they have been granted by diploma.
Crests served to secure wider recognition for the bearer of arms. They were in battle scarcely higher than the helmet itself and indeed also in tournament use not essentially higher. But, beginning with the gorgeous tournament styling, the helmet crest was developed heraldically to a high-Gothic style of dominating massiveness. With the hereditary character of the arms, helmet crests acquired as permanent a meaning as the content of the shield, with which generally they were coherent in color and form. They decorated the helmet, each in its own way, vertically or transversely placed, as the helmet in the coat of arms was either turned to the side or had to be placed upright in full view.

Protective plates are the simplest original crests and appear very early. These helmet-decorating, upright-standing, painted plates take various forms: for example, triangular or polyangular or circular, oval, club-shaped, fan-shaped, smooth-edged or scallop-edged, also decorated with balls or stuck with feathers. The pointed cap also is, comparatively speaking, an old crest.

In the crest of our basic family arms the parting and colors of the shield are repeated. The form of the crest has come down to us in seals in very different shapes. In a seal of 1576 the crest appears also stuck with feathers. Officially we bear the simple form, projecting fan-like, with a rather flattened round top without feather ornament, the way it was received by us from a woodcarving found in the cathedral at Merseburg. The carving dates back to 1442 and represents the arms if the Bishop Johannes Bose, Family Number 30.
Our upside -down cap --- that is, with the opening turned upward --- the pointed cap with feathers stuck in it appears for the first time in 1593 to represent the crest once worn in battle and tournament and came into general use in the arms. In this pointed cap are repeated the parting and the now three colors of the bordered shield of our augmented arms.
A historical documentation of this pictorial change in the arms (crest into pointed hat) is not available. Presumably the pointed hat developed from the crest stuck with feathers as it appeared in 1576. (The appearance of the pointed cap in our arms has nothing to do with a fashion that came later of using heathen hats and caps in coats of arms.)
A system of cross-hatched lines, to indicate colors of arms without the use of color, arose in the 17th century. Its use is permissible, but not obligatory.

We show three of the arms on Arms Chart 2 cross-hatch coded. Thus the metal color silver remains white, without cross-hatching, while black is represented as completely blacked out.
The style of art in which anyone authorized to bear arms shall display them is optional with him. The outward form may also be chosen by him. Only the arms contents and the colors must remain the same. Despite the free choice of art style it seems logical to expect that the antiquity of the arms not be nullified by a completely inconsistent style of art.

As we can bear not only the family arms that have come to us out of the Middle Ages, but also the augmented arms which came to us from a later time, there are given to us certain limitations on the style of art by which the arms are represented. Arising from the need of showing an ancient coat of arms in an ancient style of art comes the need of representing our augmented arms in the oldest form of high-Gothic art style. The early Gothic, as the oldest style of art in general, must be reserved for our original family arms.
We show our family arms in early Gothic style in three pictures on Arms Chart 1, and our augmented arms as the official arms as previously indicated in high-Gothic style on the book cover.

Representations of our arms shall be used only for inspirational purposes; they shall not be used as printed patterns (in fabrics, for example).

The family arms as shown in the upper part of Arms Chart 1, as well as the augmented arms as shown on the book cover were drawn by heraldic expert Dr. W. Freier, after old hand-drawn arms.

The arms shown in the book-plate used by the Bosian Archives were drawn in 1908 by cousin Bodo (Family Number E183). (See Arms Chart 2. upper left.)

The figure of a knight, which decorated the title page of this book, is a copy of a knightly seal of our Heidenricus Boze (Family Number 6). Since the original of this knightly seal is not traceable, the reproduction appears without inscription, that is, without the name of the seal bearer.

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