Fantastic Crests of the Middle Ages :

The Swan

 

Although the swan is not really a fabulous animal, itís frequently figured as crest because itís full of symbols. We often see swans in mythology, for example to drive the Apollonís chariot or to charm Leda. The swan is also frequently present in medieval culture.

Because itís a white and gracious animal, the swan is an emblem of pureness and brilliant light... The swan is also the mercuryís alchemist symbol, metal which seems materia prima or philosopherís stone. Sometimes, the swan is called hypocritical animal because its flesh is dark under white feathers !

When a swan is black, itís melancholy or the ďblack sunĒ ís alchemist symbol.

Gilles de Rais chose for his crest a Swanís head Argent, a pair of wings Argent; mantling Argent doubled Argent; neither wreath nor coronet. (arms : Or, a Cross Sable, within Bordure Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis Or (bordure accorded by Charles VII in 1429).