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Argent a bend gules

In heraldry, a bend is a colored band running from the upper right corner of the shield to the lower left (from the point of view of a person bearing the shield). Writers differ in how much of the field they say it covers, ranging from one-fifth (if it is shown between other charges) up to one-third (if charged itself). Although the theory that the bend may occupy one-third of the field is sometimes said to exclude the possibility of two or three bends being specified to be shown together on a shield, there are contrary examples. [1]

A bend can be modified by most of the lines of partition.

A bend sinister [2] is a bend which runs in the other direction to a bend. As the shield would have been carried with the design facing outwards from the bearer, the bend sinister would slant in the same direction a sash worn diagonally on the left shoulder; sinister coming from the Latin and meaning left.

The diminutives (the name of the charge if it is to be shown in a much narrower version) of the bend are (in descending order) the bendlet [3] (one-half as wide as a bend),, the cotise (one-fourth the width of a bend), and the riband or ribbon (also one-fourth)- though all these sizings are pretty approximate.

A bendlet couped is also known as a baton. [1] The diminutive of the bend sinister (in England) is the scarpe or scarfe. A bend eradicated or esclatté shows an end broken off in a "splintered" way - though this is pretty rare, if it exist in practice at all.[2]

In bend refers to the appearance of several items on the shield being lined up in the direction of a bend.

A charge bendwise or bendways is slanted like a bend. (When a charge is placed on a bend, by default it is to be shown bendways.)

A shield party per bend (or just per bend) is divided into two parts by a single line which runs in the direction of a bend.

Bendy is a variation of the field that is divided, usually, into any even number of parts.[1]

The equivalent terms can be constructed for bends sinister.




  1. ^ a b c Boutell, Charles (1914). Fox-Davies, A.C.. ed. Handbook to English Heraldry, The (11th Edition ed.). London: Reeves & Turner. pp. 58–59.  
  2. ^ Robson, Thomas (1850). The British Herald; Or, Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility & Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, from the Earliest to the Present Time. Turner & Marwood. pp. 29.  


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