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Methodology: Inquiry (2/3)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 05.05.12
Trakai|Hoya|Savoy I|Brittany|Clare|Mann

In a first approach to the problem try to know everything already said about it. This may present great difficulties; well known heraldic representations will include various inconclusive peculiarities, adding to the curiosity of the investigators and enabling further attempts at an explanation. We may simplify the task by limiting our attention to academic texts, but the necessary restraint of their propositions will oppose the seductive prodigality of independent researchers, quite active in heraldic investigations. Maybe the best strategy would be to start consulting a well-established generic work, with an outline of the state of the art and, possibly including the later advancements. Secondly, we should look up the themes dealing with the particularities revealed during our initial research, both in their presuppositions and their developments. Finally, we shouldn't reject any informal reading that may cast some light on the said subjects. In short, read as much as possible referring only the essential.


But our inquiry is not finished here. Beyond whatever is written we must also be concerned with visual representations. Armorials, grants of arms, heraldic stones, artefacts, etc. are rich sources of iconographic material; however, despite the eventual poor substance of the text, criticism remains a must. It is necessary to assimilate thoroughly the appearance of the blazon under scrutiny and its chronological, genealogical and cultural aspects. It would also be helpful to recognize other equal or similar heraldic figurations that may serve as comparative tools if any unusual characteristics are present, even in details that may appear insignificant at first sight: a rampant lion is certainly dull but that is not the case if its tincture is purpure.


Another side of the same coin is the knowledge of methods and means of representation, one of the many industrious activities of the medieval times. Next, while evolving to the semantic notion of the heraldic traces and their designants, we need to know how those specific drawings and tinctures adjust to what we've tried to establish previously. Even without taking into account all the aspects of the ideographic domain in the Middle Ages, some geometricized figurations could be an intimidating challenge for a detailed study.


It would also be advantageous to talk with someone who may be linked with the problem as a personal interest. Frequently, legends and family narratives don't seem to be credible enough but they must be regarded with the respect, esteem and reverence granted by the years, without overlooking the impartiality, integrity and objectivity of the research. It is disturbing the amount of information lost with the generations; therefore, we have the duty to preserve it for the future somehow. After examining the work done before in this field, we should emphasize the valuable contribution of these narratives for the emergence of correspondences which, otherwise, would appear as detached information.

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Published at 16:09

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