|TUESDAY, 4TH MARCH, 1986|
ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF JOHN ANSTIS, GARTER KING-AT-ARMS, (1744)
|F4, Clare College|
Mark D. Myers
As often before, the committee dined with the speaker in Hall at Clare before the meeting.
Philip Whittome gave us a most interesting introduction to the heraldry of Japan, where he has just spent a year. He highlighted the many differences between Japanese heraldry and that of the West. Among the more startling were that in Japanese heraldry, colour is unimportant: also, since there was no central body for the granting of arms, up to twenty or thirty families – not necessarily related – might have the same "mon". The mon was not carried on a shield but as a small circle – perhaps only an inch in diameter – worn on the back of the neck. Other copies would be worn on various other parts of the dress. Because of the way it was worn, the mon would always be a design capable of being fitted easily into a circle – as seen in the Japanese Airlines trademark. Also, because Japanese good taste favoured simplicity, the designs were far simpler than Western ones – although some of them, made up of differing numbers of circles, seem rather easy to confuse. Interestingly, about 50% of all mons represent various parts of plants, and the remainder are composed of geometrical figures or man-made objects: the human-form is nowhere represented and the crane, although a symbol of longevity, is extremely rare.
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Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society