Once the art of the heralds, whose job it was to check the coats of arms of the knights at jousting tournaments. If the composition of a coat of arms was seen as an art form, then its actual realisation was even more so. Heraldic colours are used to create a clear differentiation of the individual parts. The four basic colours are red (Rosso), blue (Azzurro), black (Nero) and green (Verde). Purple (Porpora), which is seldom used, is added as the seventh colour, to form a relationship to the seven planets known at the time. (Detailed text)

Date: Middle Ages

Bibliography: D. L. Galbreath und L. Jéquier, «Lehrbuch der Heraldik», Lausanne 1978; John Gage, «Colour and Culture, Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction», Thames and Hudson, 1993, pp. 79-92.