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|Livro de Armeiro-Mor 1506-1509, blue on green, green on red, black on red, complexity count of 11, dog & wolf|
Glossary of Terms: Complexity Count
A measure of armorial simplicity described in Part VIII.1 of the Rules for Submission. The Complexity Count is the sum of the number of types of charges and the number of tinctures in an armorial design. Armory with an excessively high complexity count may be returned. However, armorial designs which are period in style may be registered even if they have a high Complexity Count. []
SENA Armory: Armorial Simplicity
A.3.E.2. Complexity Count:
> We require that any submission not exceed a certain "complexity count," measured by adding the number of types of charges to the number of tinctures. Items with a complexity count of eight or less receive no penalty for complexity from this rule. Furs, such as ermine// and //vair, count as a single tincture rather than their component tinctures. Charges that have different names in different tinctures or orientations (roundels, crescents, gouttes) are considered one type regardless of the term used for them. All charges, including maintained charges, are counted, though objects worn by an animal or person do not. All tinctures are counted except those used only for normally unblazoned artistic details like teeth, claws, and eyes. Proper is not a tincture, but a description of a group of tinctures, each of which is counted separately. > For example, Vert, in fess two straight trumpets palewise Or and a chief argent// has a complexity count of five, while //Vert, in fess two straight trumpets palewise and a chief Or// has a complexity count of four. //Vair, a squirrel gules// has a complexity count of three. //Argent, a brown monkey proper vested gules// has a complexity count of four, because the tincture of the vest is also counted. For example, //a rose proper// has three tinctures, each of which is counted for complexity, so //Per fess sable and azure, on a fess argent, three roses proper has a complexity count of eight. > An item with a complexity count of nine or higher that follows a period pattern of charges and tinctures may be registered, but may need to be documented as an Individually Attested Pattern. http://heraldry.sca.org/sena.html#A3E2
Heraldry Lesson 12: Complexity
[] [Based on the old Rules for Submission] What do we mean when we say that a device is too complex? Complexity covers a fair bit of ground.Part VIII of the rules for submission defines Compatible Armorial Style. Section 1, Armorial Simplicity defines simplicity. I quote the headings: VIII.1. Armorial Simplicity - All armory must be simple in design. VIII.1.a. Tincture and Charge Limit- Armory must use a limited number of tinctures and types of charges. VIII.1.b. Armorial Balance - Armory must arrange all elements coherently in a balanced design. VIII.1.c. Armorial Depth - Armory may not employ depth of field as a design element. VIII.1.c.i. Perspective - Charges may only be drawn in perspective if they were so depicted in period armory. VIII.1.c.ii. Layer Limit - Designs may not be excessively layered. VIII.1. Armorial Simplicity - All armory must be simple in design. VIII.1.a. Tincture and Charge Limit- Armory must use a limited number of tinctures and types of charges. [As the number of tinctures involved in a device increases, the number of types of charges should decrease. In no case should the number of different tinctures of types of charges be so great as to eliminate the visual impact of any single design element. As a rule of thumb, the total of the number of tinctures plus the number of types of charges in a design should not exceed eight. As another guideline, three or more types of charges should not be used in the same group.] This rule essentially says that busy armory is no good. There are two guidelines in the notes. The first says to keep the number of tinctures and charge types down. Per bend checky azure and argent and argent, in bend a hammer Or and an anvil sable, on a chief embattled vert, a quill pen Or. Has five tinctures (azure, argent, Or, sable, and vert), and four types of charges (hammer, anvil, chief, quill pen). This adds up to nine, which exceeds eight. To compound the problem, the combination of the checky field with the embattled chief creates visual tension. If the chief were plain and the Or charges were argent, the count would be eight, and the device would probably be acceptable, although right at the edge. The second guideline is more familiar as the "Slot Machine Rule", which was discussed in an earlier lesson. Counterchanging increases complexity, and thus should not be used with complex fields. For example, Gyronny lozengy gules and Or and vair, a mascle throughout counterchanged. This illustrates this point clearly. Counterchanging should not divide the charge into more than a few pieces. VIII.1.b. Armorial Balance - Armory must arrange all elements coherently in a balanced design. [Period armory usually places the primary elements of the design in a static arrangement, such as a single charge in the center of the field or three identical charges on an escutcheon. More complex designs frequently include a central focal point around which other charges are placed, like a chevron between three charges, but the design remains static and balanced. Designs that are unbalanced, or that create an impression of motion, are not compatible with period style.] The design should have a central focus, and should appear as if it could stay there forever without falling over or down. Per fess gules and Or, three bezants in pale. Is unbalanced badly. The three bezants are all on the left side of the shield and there is nothing on the right side to balance them. Adding three torteaux (red roundels) on the sinister side would balance this and turn it into an outstanding design. Vert, in sinister a wolf statant argent. Is just as unbalanced. The single charge off to one side provides no central focus. Add another wolf on the dexter, or move the one to the center. Also, the drawing style should not suggest that the object is moving or about to leap out of the shield. I highly recommend Mistress Hilary of Serendip's article The Philosophical Roots of Heraldic Design, printed in the Spring 1983 Tournaments Illuminated (#66) and the Atlantian Herald's Handbook. VIII.1.c. Armorial Depth - Armory may not employ depth of field as a design element. VIII.1.c.i. Perspective - Charges may only be drawn in perspective if they were so depicted in period armory.[A pair of dice may be drawn in perspective since they were routinely drawn that way in period armory to show the pips. A bear, dolphin, or castle should not be drawn in three dimensions, but should appear only in its standard, flat heraldic form.] Dice, drums, and tambourines are normally drawn in perspective. Baskets, bowls, bellows, crowns, and the like are often drawn with just enough perspective so that you can identify the object. Otherwise, charges have no depth at all. VIII.1.c.ii. Layer Limit - Designs may not be excessively layered. [All charges should be placed either directly on the field or entirely on other charges that lie on the field.] This means that there can normally be no more than three layers in a design. Exceptions are very rare. Purpure, on a bend between two mullets argent, three escallops gules, each charged with a plate. Has excessive layering. The plates on the escallops on the bend on the field is four layers. Azure, a fess argent, overall on an owl Or, a cross patonce gules. Is not excessively layered. The cross is on a charge that lies on the field, namely the owl, which is overall and thus lies (partially) on the field.
Academy of St. Gabriel "Medieval Heraldry Archive" - http://www.s-gabriel.org/heraldry/ Archive of St. Gabriel reports - [] Laurel Armory Articles - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/armory_articles.html Period Armorials
Precedents of the SCA College of Arms - [] Morsulus Heralds Website - [] (to search the LoARs and Precedents) Restatement Wiki - [] (restatements of Precedents) Use the above links to be sure any precedents listed below haven't been superseded by newer precedents.
From the May 2014 Cover Letter: From Wreath: Complexity Counts and You On the December 2013 Cover Letter, we asked commenters to discuss and consider our complexity count rules, as stated in SENA A3E2. In specific, we asked whether we should explicitly count complexity from the emblazon or the blazon, whether or not we should continue to count maintained charges, how to handle other artistic details, and whether or not to change the complexity count limit. For reference, SENA A3E2 currently states: > Complexity Count: We require that any submission not exceed a certain "complexity count," measured by adding the number of types of charges to the number of tinctures. Items with a complexity count of eight or less receive no penalty for complexity from this rule. Furs, such as ermine// and //vair, count as a single tincture rather than their component tinctures. Charges that have different names in different tinctures or orientations (roundels, crescents, gouttes) are considered one type regardless of the term used for them. All charges, including maintained charges, are counted, though objects worn by an animal or person do not. All tinctures are counted except those used only for normally unblazoned artistic details like teeth, claws, and eyes. Proper is not a tincture, but a description of a group of tinctures, each of which is counted separately. Based on the commentary, we are making the following explicit rulings:
- We will not count the type or tincture of maintained charges.
- We will not count the tincture of purely artistic details, whether they are blazoned or not. This means a rose proper// has only one tincture, gules, as the tincture of the barbing and seeding are considered artistic. However, //a ford proper has two tinctures, azure and argent, as both are considered significant.
- The question of counting complexity from the blazon or emblazon is moot, due to the above changes.
- We will not change the complexity count limit.
> Look for a Palimpsest rules letter with proposed new wording for SENA A3E2. http://heraldry.sca.org/loar/2014/05/14-05cl.html
Tenure of Elisabeth de Rossignol (May 2005 - July 2008) - [] The 2nd Tenure of François la Flamme (October 2004 - May 2005) - [] The Tenure of Shauna of Carrick Point (May 2004 - August 2004) - The Tenure of François la Flamme (August 2001 - April 2004) - The Tenure of Elsbeth Anne Roth (June 1999 - July 2001) - The Tenure of Jaelle of Armida (June 1996 - June 1999) - The 2nd Tenure of Da'ud ibn Auda (November 1993 - June 1996) - The Tenure of Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme (June 1992 - October 1993) - The 1st Tenure of Da'ud ibn Auda (June 1990 - June 1992) - The Tenure of Alisoun MacCoul of Elphane (September 1986 - June 1990) - The Tenure of Baldwin of Erebor (August 1984 - August 1986) - The Tenure of Wilhelm von Schlüssel (August 1979 - August 1984) - The Tenure of Karina of the Far West (December 1975 - June 1979) - The Early Days (June 1971 - June 1975) -