Family Crest

Family Armor and Family Honor in a Family Crest

A family crest is a symbolic honor for a family that dates back to the medieval concept of heraldry. The shield, which is also known as a coat of arms, denotes the achievements and armorial bearings of combatants in battle. The crest is a symbol that is carried down from one generation to the next. It qualifies emotions of honor, loyalty, prowess and bravery. Nowadays the family crest can be printed on more than a shield, lance or armor. You can find it on apparel, ceramics, print formats, frames and plaques. Family crest signifies a legacy that is handed down from one generation to the next.

Origins of the Family Crest

Symbolizing medieval heraldry, the family crest is a symbol of Family virtues like honor, glory and status. During medieval battles, combatants tended to lose their shield and lances. During hand combat the Family crest was the only way to distinguish one combatant from another. The family crest also had other functions. It was used as an official seal to designate families. The European family crest is unique in that the symbols are marshaled and registered through the male heir. Today the family crest is a showpiece and symbolizes the family surname.

What is the Purpose of Family Crest

Knowing the Family crest is an important part of knowing your history. Many people try to trace their roots by beginning a quest for their family crest. It is a genealogical link to your past. The symbol on the crest denotes positive qualities that have to do with the Family name. European symbols are more aggressive as compared with their Japanese counterparts. It is generally in communities where warfare was an accepted way of life that these symbols of heraldry were used.

Structure of the European Family Crest

Traditionally, a shield is designed with certain elements that remain constant throughout all designs. The crest sits at the top of the design with a wreath underneath. There is a helmet above the shield, which is the chief portion of the shield for heraldry. The design on the shield alternates and adds uniqueness to the family crest. The helmet is surrounded by the mantle; supporters like beasts, birds, monsters and humans; the motto and the badge. The crest is absent in some family crest traditions, the shield design being the chief feature. The Japanese family crest is different in structure and uses motifs like flowers, trees, plants and birds. The emphasis is more on nature, while the European Family crest emphasizes on power.

The Japanese Family Crest

Also called Kamon, the Japanese family crest is an also an emblem of the genealogical inheritance of a family. In Japan, also a warring society in the medieval period, the family crest represents the family surname. It was used as the emblem donning the clothes that they wore and the utensils that they used. Unlike the tradition in Europe, the family crest was neither marshaled nor registered. It was just a symbol of one’s genealogical heritage. There is no standard structure for the Japanese family crest. Various symbols of nature are used as symbols.

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