Semy on the Fields of Heraldic Devices

Semy on heraldry shields is strewing repeated small charges across the field to cover it completely. Other names are seme and semee

The charges, or symbols, are cut off at the edges of the shield, they are not laid out to end before the edges. The border on this shield shows two types of seme ~ fleur-de-lis and ermine spots. Notice how the charges are cut off on the edges, with incomplete designs.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

To avoid confusion a semee has the patterns strewn across the field, the charges are cut off on the edges.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

If a larger number of charges are arranged on the field, and the charges do not get cut off on the edges, this is not a semy.

Escudo de Fruiz image courtesy Wikipedia

If 8 or more of one charge are arranged to form an invisible border, without a change in color from the field, this is a diminutive band called an orle. An orle can also be plain with no charges at all.Most small charges can be depicted as semy. In English heraldry, several types of small charges have special names. This is usually, referring to them as semé of ~
  • Annulletty ~ annulets, open rings
  • Bezante ~ bezants, gold roundels to represent Byzantine coinsA pattern is blazoned, displayed, as strewn or powdered.
  • Billete ~ 10 or more billets
  • Billets ~ individual bricks, pieces of paper, or firewood
  • Braced ~ a repeated pattern of braces

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Chatele ~ strewn with castles
  • Crescenty ~ strewn with crescents
  • Crusily ~ cross-crosslets

    Image courtesy Seiyaku

  • Diapering ~ covering areas of one color with a tracery design of crosshatches or arabesques, as seen in this border

    Image courtesy John Guillim

  • Etincelle ~ sparks
  • Estoiles ~ stars
  • Fleurs-de-lis ~ seme-de-lis, the trefoil symbol of France
  • Flory, Fleury ~ flowers
  • Folds ~ symbolizing the folds of a warrior's cape, seen in the Special Troops Battalion of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division of the United States Army
  • Fretty ~ latticework that diapers the field, with the junction points sometimes ornamented, as with roundels or rosettes.

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Fuselee ~ a narrower lozenge with the lines sloped steeper

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Honeycomb

    Fusagasugá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
    coat of arms image courtesy CRW Flags

  • Larmes ~ a field of goutee, or elongated upside down pear shaped drops with wavy sides.

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Lozengy ~ strewn with lozenges of alternate tinctures.

    Image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Maily ~ annulets arranged to appear as mail
  • Masculy ~ mascles, a lozenge with a lozenge-shaped hole. Mascles are supposed to represent the links that composed chain armor. This example is not a field, just the mascle symbols or charges.

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Masculyn ~ mascles with the points of the diamonds terminating in fleur-de-lis

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Masoned ~ a stone or brick wall

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Pied at random ~ like the markings of cattle, found in South African shields
  • Plate ~ white or silver rounds
  • Rosette ~ roses
  • Rustre ~ lozenges pierced with a round hole
  • Snowflakes ~

    Romanenkov Coat of Arms shield
    image courtesy Wikipedia

  • Tapisse ~ wheat, to resemble a wheat field

    Image courtesy TCHA

  • Torteaux, Tortelly ~ originally red roundels, also roundels of two colors laid side-by-side to form rows

    Image courtesy James Parker

  • Treillissé ~ similar fretty latticework, but the pieces aren’t interlaced and the mesh is smaller

Due to their quantity, furs, feathers, and scales can be found on the Fur page.

Many of the semy charges could be incorporated into your Scottish theme wedding plans ~ on invitations, ceremony programs, decorations, or wedding dresses, just to name a few. With imagination and some thought, you can find lots of ways to use heraldic semy within your plans.

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