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Impalement (heraldry): Wikis

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Banner of the arms of Cardinal Wolsey as Archbishop of York, impaling his personal arms (viewer's right) with the arms of his office as Archbishop of York (viewer's left).

In heraldry, Impalement is the practice of joining two coats of arms side-by-side in one shield. Per pale is a vertical division in heraldry, and an impaled shield is divided straight down the middle vertically, top to bottom, with the two coats of arms arranged on each side of this division.

Impalement is used in heraldry to denote union. Usually, this is the union of a man and his wife, with the husband's arms placed to the viewer's left (or heraldic dexter, since the left as we look at it is to the right of the person notionally holding the shield) and the wife's arms placed to the viewers's right (or heraldic sinister). However, other unions are possible, notably the union of a bishop to his diocese or see in ecclesiastical heraldry, so that the arms of the see are to the viewer's left (heraldic dexter) and the personal arms of the bishop for that period are to the viewer's right (heraldic sinister).

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