Eagle Rising

Cast Brass Eagle Flagpole Finial Sculpture (LEO Design)


Heraldry is "the system by which coats-of-arms and other armorial bearings (that is, "military symbols") are devised, described and regulated."  To some, the study of heraldry may seem like a frivolous pursuit.  But the "art and science" of heraldry is deadly serious to those who employ it: monarchies, militaries, religious denominations, aristocratic families, and hierarchical societies.  The use and regulation of heraldry is all about propriety and rules. Different institutions—sometimes over centuries—have developed heraldic customs and subtleties that must be complied with, monitored and enforced.

Symbols of rank and pedigree are nearly as old as mankind itself.  But it was during the European Middle Ages that heraldry became a distinct discipline.  Medieval soldiers, for the first time clad in substantial armor, began to have trouble identifying their comrades-in-arms (or identify their leaders).  Heraldry—painted on armor, shields and banners—became a critical identifier of friend or foe.

Eagles are a common and majestic element in all sorts of heraldry.  They are sorted into numerous "types," based open their poses, wing arrangements, placement of their feet, the turn of their heads.  Eagles are even distinguished by how many heads they have (and in which directions they gaze).

The cast brass eagle sculpture, shown above, was made to sit atop a flagpole as a heraldic final.  His pose is called abaissé: wings spread with the tips downward.  His body faces forward, called affronté.  His head is turned dexter (to his right) in train aspect (that is, in three-quarter profile).  Different systems of heraldry (for example, US Military heraldry or British Monarchic heraldry) have developed clearly proscribed "attitudes" that an eagle is supposed to assume, based on its use and meaning.

Click on the photo above to learn more about this interesting eagle.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248