Images of Animals and Plants in European Emblems and Heraldry: from Natural Representation to Symbolic Interpretation
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Images of Animals and Plants in European Emblems and Heraldry: from Natural Representation to Symbolic Interpretation
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Evgeny Pchelov 
Affiliation: Institute of Science and Technology History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Animal and plant symbols in the emblems and heraldry is one of the central places. Their tradition of symbolic interpretation was based on ancient bestiaries, interpreted in a Christian context. Bestiary symbolism was based on the works of ancient scientists about the animals, starting with the “History of animals” Aristotle. Each character could have different meanings depending on the context and semantics could be ambivalent. On the formation of symbolic meanings was affected by different features and categories of animal and plant objects. The appearance of the plant and animal could itself serve as a basis for symbolic interpretation. Rethinking real properties of an animal or plant. There are a number of fantastic animals and plants that were considered real, and they also became the subject of symbolism and emblematics. Finally, real natural objects were granted fantastic properties, is considered real. Their interpretation led them into the circle of emblems and symbols. And although the fantastic properties became clear, the images generated by them lived and continue to live in the emblems and heraldry so far. The article is devoted to the number of such characters. The idea of forever waking lion spawned function of the image of the lion as guardian, embodied in the form of heraldic supporters. Pelikan, raise the nestlings with its blood, became the emblem of mercy, compassion, charity. The eagle, flying toward the sun, became a symbol of the search for God, and in another sense of courage and fearlessness. Extinguishing the fire Salamander, and shooting needles of a porcupine, was taken as the personal emblems of European monarchs. They meant the promotion of good and destruction of evil, scare the enemy. Finally, a crane with a stone in the paw, a symbol of vigilance, after a certain evolution became a known figure in heraldry. Even having lost its original natural background images of animals, possessing mythical properties, included in the emblems and heraldry and survived those concepts which caused them to life.
heraldry, symbolism, bestiary
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Additional sources and materials

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