Understand The Coat Of Arms



A few members have asked what the relevance was of the coat of arms on the front cover of our last issue of ARMA.

Nearly 20 years ago (viz. 1986) I had a request from Professor Mervyn Shear (at that time Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand and I think Past-President of the Association) to aid in the devising of a coat of arms for the above-mentioned association. After serious consultation we agreed on the design which featured on the cover of ARMA Volume 8 No 2.

Blazon: Per fess Azure and Argent, gouttée de sang; a chief indented (of sixteen) Or and in base two roundels sanguine.

Symbolism: Reading the design from the top down - the top is gold representing the light or the exterior.

The sixteen indentations represent teeth as well as epithelial surface pathology.

The blue (Azure) represents oral epithelium when stained with haematoxylin.

The gouttée de sang (literally drops of blood) represents the anlage, basal cell proliferations, etc.

The blood-coloured roundels in base represent tumours or cysts deep to the oral epithelium.

My comment at that time: Should any of the divisions of the International Association ever need to have their own version of the coat of arms, this can be done quite easily by adding a single charge in the top left hand corner, e.g. a protea for South Africa, an eagle for the United States, a maple leaf for Canada, and so forth.


Robert A Laing of Colington