Corrections Wanted!

As noted prominently on the website, the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art is not an authoritative source; in particular, despite the inclusion of art by a large number of contributors, the text is nearly all the work of one person, and indubitably contains numerous errors.

In hopes of saving the community from picking up any accidental misinformation, I’d love to have some help correcting those mistakes, and if you’re reading this, you’re invited to help out!

Below are listed four projects that could be tackled by volunteers. If you’re interested in working on one of these, please do make sure to also scroll down and read the “General Notes” section at the end.

Default Postures

Compare the page of default postures and orientations from the Traceable site against table 5 from the offical Glossary of Terms and make a list of corrections.

In some cases you’ll have to look for related terms; for example, the Traceable site has a page for “billhook,” which doesn’t appear in the Glossary — the corresponding entry there is “polearm.”

I don’t think there’s much to be gained by quibbling with minor variations in wording; for example, the Glossary’s entry for “polearm” says “Palewise, blade to chief” while the Traceable page for “billhook” says “Point to chief,” which seems close enough… but where there’s information that’s incorrect or misleading, that should be corrected.

There are also going to be cases where the Glossary lists a default posture that’s missing from the corresponding Traceable pages, so you can also check for items that are listed in table 5 but not on this page.

Proper Colorations

This project is a lot like the previous one: compare the list of proper tinctures from the Traceable Art against table 4 from the Glossary of Terms and note where I need to make corrections.

As with the postures, this will require matching up related terms and ignoring minor variations in wording to identify places where corrections are needed.

Likewise, there are almost certainly cases where the Glossary notes a proper tincture that are missing from the corresponding table on the Traceable site, but in cases where I don’t have art for them, there isn’t any place for me to attach that information; for example, I can’t record that thylacines proper are tan colored, because there’s no Traceable illustration of a thylacine. (Yet.)

Distinguishing Erect Postures

As noted on the October 2023 cover letter, the lines between rampant, salient, and statant erect are somewhat blurry, but there are some guidelines to help determine which term is most appropriate. (There’s also an illustrated guide to these differences in the change summary.)

A close examination of the Traceable pages for rampant, salient, and statant will likely reveal numerous items that need to be reblazoned to match these guidelines.

Recently Returned Depictions

Every year, a few illustrations in the collection are ruled unregistrable for various reasons, including those that blur the boundaries between two postures that should be distinct, that are unidentifiable, or that don’t match period examples.

I’ve tried to mark those by noting style problems and unregistrable depictions on the various pages (or by removing the worst offenders from the site altogether), but I know I haven’t fond all of them, and in the meantime the problematic images continue to lead submitters astray.

(As an example, a few years ago there was a spate of returns for owls that had their feet in the wrong place, which mostly cleared up after I noticed the problem and got corrected art onto the site.)

It would be productive to go through all of the returns sections of recent LoARs, looking for discussions that indicate problems with illustration styles (ignoring returns for other issues such as contrast or conflict) and then check the corresponding illustrations in OSCAR to see if they stem from bad illustrations in the Traceable collection.

If you send me a list of entries that are problematic and an LoAR entry showing a return, I can get these items flagged or removed to avoid their future use.

General Notes

There’s no harm in overlap, but it seems silly to waste effort by having a dozen people all check the same material, while other items go unexamined. If someone is up for coordinating a team effort to keep track of which items have been checked and which remain to be tackled, that would cut down on duplication and ensure that things don’t fall through the gaps.

I will take corrections as they come, but for reference, please note that it’s easier for me to manage updates if I get corrections in batches and grouped by section — eg, one message with a list of a dozen changes needed to various kind of birds, rather than scattershot reports with one message about a bird, followed by a second message about a musical instrument, and then one about a different bird and a fish.

You can send feedback or leave notes about your progress in the comments below, or send mail to me directly at

Thanks for your help!

One thought on “Corrections Wanted!”

  1. I’ve had a look at all the proper colorations. I’m not good enough at postures yet. Notes below.

    Proper coloration not given:
    Antler (under stag’s attire)
    Baker’s peel (under peel)
    Chili pepper (under pepper)
    Edelweiss (under eidelweiss) – maybe also incorrect spelling?
    Fundou (under weight)
    Grapes (under grape)
    Lace bobbin
    Leather items: costrel, jack, hide
    Lily of the valley
    Orca or killer whale (under whale)
    Pickaxe (under pick)
    Pine cone (under pine)
    Stag Beetle Attires
    Urchin or hedgehog (under hedgehog)

    Part-humans – the non-human parts have proper coloration not specified here that I could find:

    Ford (under base) – correct in article, not in the proper tinctures list
    Fox’s tail (under tail) – article lists it as also having ‘sable feet’ when I’m not sure that’s possible for a tail, not in the proper tinctures list not on proper listing page, under tail ‘Sable feet’?

    No art found – but if there is art, I haven’t checked these:
    Bird’s crop
    Monarch butterfly
    Doumbek or doumbeg
    Dun cow
    Eastern blue bird
    Peregrine falcon
    Fire arrow
    Mallard drake
    Medlar sprig
    Oak branch?
    Pussy willow branch
    Red-winged blackbird
    Tiger lily

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *