A coat of arms or armorial bearings (often just arms for short), in European tradition, is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people) and used by them in a wide variety of ways. They were once used by knights to identify them apart from enemy soldiers. Unlike seals and emblems, coats of arms have a formal description that is expressed as a blazon. A seal can mean a wax seal bearing an impressed figure or an embossed figure in paper with the purpose of authenticating a document but the term can also mean any device for An emblem is a pictorial Image, abstract or representational that epitomizes a Concept — e In Heraldry and heraldic Vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of most often a Coat of arms or Flag, which enables a person to In the 21st century, coats of arms still continue to be in use, in a variety of institutions, e. g. several universities have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used and protect their use.  The art of designing, displaying, describing, and recording arms is called heraldry. Heraldry in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms.
In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son, and undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Undifferenced arms (or plain arms) are coats of arms which have no marks distinguishing the bearer by birth order or family position Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: usually a color change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. In Heraldry, cadency is any systematic way of distinguishing similar coats of arms belonging to members of the same Family. In Heraldry and Vexillology, a charge is an image occupying the field on an escutcheon (or shield One such charge is the label, which in British usage (outside the royal family) is now always the mark of an heir-apparent. Heraldry, a label is a charge closely resembling the strap with pendants which from the saddle crossed the horse's chest An heir apparent is an Heir who (short of a fundamental change in the situation cannot be displaced from inheriting the term is used in contrast to Heir presumptive
Because of their importance in identification, particularly in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was strictly regulated; few countries continue in this today. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry. A herald, or more correctly a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between Pursuivant and King of arms. Heraldry in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. " Some other traditions (e. g. Polish) are less restrictive — allowing, for example, all members of a dynastic house or family to use the same arms, although one or more elements may be reserved to the Head of the House.
In time, the use of coat of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, and other establishments.  According to a design institute article, "The modern logo and corporate livery have evolved from the battle standard and military uniform of medieval times". 
In his book The Visual Culture of Violence in the Late Middle Ages Valentin Groebner argues that the images composed on coats of arms are in many cases designed to convey a feeling of power and strength, often in military terms.  The author Helen Stuart argues that some coat of arms were a form of corporate logo.  Museums on medieval coat of arms also point out that as emblems they may be viewed as a pre-cursors to the corporate logos of modern society, used for group identity formation. An emblem is a pictorial Image, abstract or representational that epitomizes a Concept — e 
In Scotland, the Lord Lyon has criminal jurisdiction to enforce the laws of arms. The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility In England, the use of arms is a matter of civil law regulate from the College of Arms. The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is an office regulating Heraldry and granting new Armorial bearings for England, Wales
Today, the term "coat of arms" or "arms" is frequently applied in two different ways. In some uses, it may indicate a full achievement of arms or heraldic achievement, which includes a variety of elements — usually a crest sitting atop a helmet, itself sitting on a shield; other common elements include supporters holding up the shield and a motto (beneath in England, above in Scotland). The word crest is often mistakenly applied to a Coat of arms. A helmet is a form of Protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries a variation of the hat A shield is a protective device meant to intercept attacks The term often refers to a device that is held in the hand as opposed to Armour or a Bullet proof vest In Heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up A motto (from the Italian word motto, meaning witticism sentence is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group Some people wrongly use "coat of arms" or "arms" to refer to the escutcheon (i. Escutcheon (ɪ'skʌtʃən (also called scutcheon) is the term used in Heraldry for the Shield displayed e. , the shield itself), or to one of several designs that may be combined in one shield. (Note that the crest is one specific part of a heraldic achievement and that "crest of arms" is a misnomer. ) The "coat of arms" frequently are adorned with a device - a motto, emblem, or other mark used to distinguish the bearer from others. A motto (from the Italian word motto, meaning witticism sentence is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group An emblem is a pictorial Image, abstract or representational that epitomizes a Concept — e If a motto is a part of the achievement, it sometimes has some punning allusion to the owner's name. A device differs from a badge or cognizance primarily because it is a personal distinction, and not a badge borne by members of the same house successively. In Heraldry, a badge is an Emblem or Personal device used to indicate allegiance to or property of an individual or family
The Vatican has its own coat of arms, as the Coat of arms of the Holy See. Pope Vatican City, officially the State of the Vatican City (Stato della Città del Vaticano is a Landlocked sovereign City-state whose territory The Coat of Arms of the Holy See is Blazoned Gules, two keys in Saltire or and Argent, interlaced in the rings gules/or Yet there is an at least 800-year-old tradition for personal Papal coat of arms that goes back to Pope Innocent III. For at least 800 years each Pope has had his own personal Coat of arms that serves as a symbol of his papacy Pope Innocent III ( February 22, 1161 &ndash June 16, 1216) born Lotario de' Conti di Segni, was Pope from January
Some Popes have used their family shield as part of their coat of arms,but the coats of arms of Popes at times deliberately include symbols composed to indicate their ideal of life, or even elements connected with specific Pontifical programmes.  A well known and widely displayed example in recent times was Pope John Paul II's coat of arms. Pope His selection of a large letter M (for Mary) on his coat of arms was intended to express the message of his strong Marian devotion. This ecumenical article is about general Christian views on and veneration of the Virgin Mary This article is primarily about devotions in the Latin Rite. For devotions in the Eastern Catholic Churches, refer to the articles on the individual Churches 
The Japanese equivalents, called kamon (often abbreviated "mon"), are family badges which often date back to the seventh century, and are still actively used in Japan today. The was a powerful Daimyo family of Japan. They descended from Emperor Seiwa (850-880 and were a branch of the Minamoto clan (Seiwa Genji by the The, Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese conglomerate consisting of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi ( plural mon) also,, and, are Japanese heraldic symbols Mon may refer to any symbol while For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. The Japanese designs are distinctly different from European formats and often use floral and abstract patterns. For instance, the mon of the powerful Tokugawa Ieyasu simply consisted of three leaves.  was the founder and first Shogun  of the Tokugawa shogunate
Yet, even these simple designs often express an origin. An example in recent use is the logo of Mitsubishi corporation which started as a shipping and maritime enterprise and whose emblem is based on a water chestnut derived from its maritime history with a military naval influence. The, Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese conglomerate consisting of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi The word mitsu means the number 3 and the word hishi meaning "water chestnut" (and also pronounced bishi) originated from the emblem of the warrior Tosa Clan. The battleships of the Tosa clan had been used in the late nineteenth century in the First Sino-Japanese War to reach Korea and their name gave rise to the term Tosa class battleship. The First Sino-Japanese War ( 日清戦争 Romaji: Nisshin Sensō ( 1 August 1894 – 17 April 1895) was a war fought between The Tosa water chestnut leaf mon was then drawn as a rhombus or diamond shape in the Mitsubishi logo. 
In the Nordic countries, provinces, regions, cities and municipalities have a coat of arms. The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe called the Nordic region, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, These are posted to the borders and shown in official documents advertising the area.
At a national level, "coats of arms" were generally retained by European states with constitutional continuity of more than a few centuries, including constitutional monarchies like Denmark as well as old republics like San Marino and Switzerland. The Kingdom of Denmark ( ˈd̥ænmɑɡ̊ (archaic ˈd̥anmɑːɡ̊ commonly known as Denmark, is a country in the Scandinavian region of northern Europe The Most Serene Republic of San Marino (Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino is a country in the Apennine Mountains. The Coat of Arms of Switzerland shows the same white cross as the Flag of Switzerland, but on a red shield Since 1989, some of the ex-Communist states, such as Romania, have resumed their former arms, often with only the symbols of monarchy removed. The Coat of arms of Romania was adopted in the Romanian Parliament on 10 September, 1992 as a representative coat of arms for Romania
The Great Seal of the United States is often said to be the coat of arms of the United States of America. The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the United States federal government. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The blazon is intentionally improper to preserve the number 13 in the symbolism. The U. S. state of Vermont, founded as the Vermont Republic, follows the American convention of assigning use of a seal for authenticating official state documents, but also has the coat of arms of Vermont. Vermont ( is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The term Vermont Republic has been used by 20th and 21st century writers to describe the period of the U The Coat of arms of Vermont is the official armorial bearings of the U Many American social fraternities and sororities, especially college organizations, use coats of arms in their symbolism. Fraternities and sororities (from the Latin words la frater and la soror, meaning "brother" and "sister" respectively are fraternal These arms vary widely in their level of adherence to European heraldic tradition.
However, today, nearly every nation in every part of the world has its own coat of arms, in many cases emblems that do not fully conform with European heraldric traditions. Such coats of arms often combine a European form with indigenous emblems. For example the coat of arms of Kenya features a shield in the shape of shields traditionally used by the Maasai, and a motto in Swahili. The Coat of arms of Kenya features two Lions a symbol of protection holding Spears and a traditional East African Shield. Swahili (called Kiswahili in the language itself is the First language of the Swahili people (Waswahili who inhabit several large stretches
Note that not all personal or corporate insignia are heraldic, though they may share many features. For example, flags are used to identify ships (where they are called ensigns), embassies and such, and they use the same colors and designs found in heraldry, but they are not usually considered to be heraldic. A flag is a piece of Cloth, often flown from a pole or mast, generally used Symbolically for signaling or identification An ensign is a distinguishing Flag of a ship or a military unit or a distinguishing token emblem or badge such as a symbol of office A country may have both a national flag and a national coat of arms, and the two may not look alike at all. For example, the flag of Scotland (St Andrew's Cross) has a white saltire on a blue field, but the royal arms of Scotland has a red lion within a double tressure on a gold field. The Flag of Scotland is a white Saltire, a crux decussate (X-shaped cross representing the Cross of the Christian Martyr St Andrew's Cross redirects here For the item of BDSM furniture see Saint Andrew's Cross (BDSM A saltire, Saint Andrew's Cross In Heraldry, the background of the Shield is called the field. The Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland was the official Coat of arms of the monarchs of Scotland, and were used as the official coat of arms of the Kingdom of