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Friday, April 4, 2008

In heraldry, the torse is a twisted roll of fabric wound around the top of the helm and crest to hold the mantle in place.
Like the mantle, the protective cloth covering worn over a knight's helmet, the torse is represented in two colours, generally the same pair of colours used on the mantle. The torse was made up of a pair of ribbons twisted together, tinctured of the principal metal and colors of the shield, the livery colours. (See tincture for more on these "tinctures".) The torse is also often referred to as the wreath.
The torse is sometimes held to represent the token which the crusader's lady-love gave him when he left for the wars, a sort of hankie which he twisted round the top of his helmet, masking the join where the crest was fixed to it.
The torse is blazoned as part of the crest, "On a wreath of the colours x and y…", for example the torse in the Coat of Arms of Canada is blazoned "On a wreath of the colours Argent and Gules, a lion passant guardant Or".
The torse is also often used as a decoration on a heraldic animal, either as a form of crown, or as a wreath around the neck.

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