Ermine Spots
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Ermine Spots

by: Daniel de Lincoln (Tim McDaniel), (c) 6 July 1998

Bruce and Yoshio's _Pictoral Dictionary of Heraldry_ (second edition) defines the "ermine spot" as a stylized ermine tail. It is most often "strewn across a field to form the heraldic ermine-style furs". However, when bourne in a small number in a clear case, ermine spots are considered charges, and are blazoned and receive CDs as such. "On an undivided field, there is a visible difference between Ermine (a field) and Argent, three ermine spots sable (a field with charges)." (Donal Artur of the Silver Band, LoAR for September, 1992; under "Difference -- Armory, Misc" in Bruce Draconarius's precedents). Edric Winterboren, in the same LoAR, explicitly received two CDs for "Gules, [charges], in chief three ermine spots Or" versus FitzHugh (Papworth 549), "Azure, [same charges]", "with a CD for the field [gules versus azure] and a CD for [addition of] the charges in chief.".

The most familiar depiction of the ermine spot is discontinuous, with three roundels one and two and a long tail. However, the "Pict Dict" shows four other period representations, all contiguous. The SCA does not require a contiguous representation -- even for fieldless badges, where discontinuous designs are forbidden. From the LoAR for August, 1991, on Sean Owein MacGrioghair's badge starting "[Fieldless] On an ermine spot ...":

It is ... Laurel's considered opinion that an ermine spot should be considered a single charge, and so this does not fall under the ban on fieldless charges consisting of disconnected charges.

which precedent Bruce Draconarius upheld (see "Ermine Spot" in his precedents; Eduard Halidai, LoAR for July, 1992).