Heraldic signs of the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the seventeenth-eighteenth century book graphics

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Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Anglų kalba / English
Heraldic signs of the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the seventeenth-eighteenth century book graphics
1569-1795. Lietuva ATR laikotarpiu; 13 amžius - 1569. Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė. LDK.
Summary / Abstract:

ENThe first coats of arms appeared in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) in the late fourteenth-fifteenth century. The heraldry of the nobility consisted of several groups: old Lithuanian signs, Polish coats of arms, and coats of arms brought from other European countries. The coat of arms, as a hereditary and distinctive sign, accompanied the nobleman from the cradle to the grave. The article focuses on the books of the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries, which depict the heraldic signs of the nobility of the GDL. The aim of the article is to discuss the heraldic signs of the GDL depicted in the seventeenth-eighteenth century book graphics, the essential aspects of their composition and depiction, and the links with the rules and traditions of heraldry on the basis of unpublished and published sources. The research presented in the article uses literature and source analysis, and comparative methods. The research presents a coherent analysis of heraldic sources and the information contained in the coats of arms. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the books of the GDL were another niche in which the nobility could be represented through coats of arms. The coats of arms of the nobility were depicted in literature in two cases. In the first case, usually in commemorative literature, the coat of arms as an illustration symbolised the person to whom the publication was dedicated. In this way the main function of a coat of arms or armorial figure was preserved: to distinguish the person, to emphasise their social or political status, to mark their descent or marriage ties, etc. In such books, coats of arms and armorial figures were depicted in a variety of ways: some modestly and in accordance with the rules of heraldry, others essentially in accordance with the rules of heraldry and with elements of artistic decoration, and still others incorporated into and even obscured by some artistic plot.In the second case, a coat of arms denoted the book’s belonging to a particular family or its member. In this case, the function of the coat of arms was different: it became first a sign of ownership and then a symbol of the owner’s exclusive, privileged descent. In fact, the depiction of coats of arms varies from rather modest representations to highly elaborate, ornate compositions. Compared to the heraldic sources such as armorial seals, coats of arms depicted in books are often more ornate, the shapes of the escutcheon are more elaborate, and there is a greater number and variety of decorative elements. The old books depict both single and combined coats of arms: both coats of arms based on an escutcheon and a figure, and individual armorial figures without escutcheons. The coats of arms of the Bilevičius, Valavičius, Pacas, Tiškevičius and other families presented in the article reflected various aspects of personal and social life: the owner’s descent, marriage and kinship ties, positions, titles, etc. Keywords: heraldry, coat of arms, nobility, book, Grand Duchy of Lithuania. [From the publication]

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2023-11-27 18:45:51
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