AskDefine | Define bordure

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A contrasting border round a shield




  1. border (the outer edge of something)



  1. Plural of bordura

Extensive Definition

In heraldry, a bordure is a contrasting border around a shield, traditionally one-sixth as wide as the shield itself. It encloses the whole shield, with two exceptions:
  • When two coats of arms are combined by dimidiation or impalement, it is supposed to be a rule that the bordure does not run along the partition line. Some writers state that there is an exception to this rule when the bordure is charged with a number of charges (see below) that it would not be possible to accurately number were the rule followed.
  • A chief overlies a bordure, unless the bordure is added to a coat that previously included a chief - and the order in which things are to overlie each other is usually, in practice rather than heraldic writers' theories, given in the blazon.
Like any heraldic ordinary, a bordure may be of a single tincture or divided; its edge may be straight or otherwise (though some lines cannot be applied to the bordure, such as dancetty); and it may be charged with smaller figures. These variations are effectively exploited in the Scottish system of cadency.
A vague and unhelpful blazon of the 27th Air Division of the United States Air Force provides for a... bordure of distinctive outline.
If a bordure is of the same tincture as the field on which it lies, the term "embordured" must be employed as a sort of loophole to avoid violation of the rule of tincture, which states the colour cannot be placed on colour nor metal on metal. This was a very unusual practice even centuries ago and is all but unheard-of today.
A bordure semy of some charge is shown as if it were charged with a great number of those charges, rather than the practice typical with a field, in which some of the charges are shown as "cut off" by the edges of the field. This large number is to be taken as semy, and not as the precise number shown.
There is no "diminutive" (a charge of the same shape but smaller or narrower) of the bordure, but a narrower bordure can be constructed by the blazon saying "a bordure diminished," though there is one example in blazon of "a narrow bordure."


bordure in Catalan: Bordura
bordure in Italian: Bordura
bordure in Dutch: Schildzoom
bordure in Japanese: ボーデュア
bordure in Polish: Bordiura heraldyczna
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