Non-heraldic equivalentPurple
Monochromatic designations
Hatching pattern 
Tricking abbr.p., pu., purp.
Poetic designations
Heavenly bodyMercury

In heraldry, purpure (/ˈpɜːrpjʊər/) is a tincture, equivalent to the colour purple, and is one of the five main or most usually used colours (as opposed to metals). It may be portrayed in engravings by a series of parallel lines at a 45-degree angle running from upper right to lower left from the point of view of an observer, or else indicated by the abbreviation purp.

Banner used during the reign of Alfonso VII of León (1105-1157)

Purpure has existed since the earliest periods, for example in the purpure lion of the arms of León; at that time, it was painted in a greyer shade. However, it has never been as common as the other colours, and this has led to some controversy as to whether it should be counted among the common colours. In French heraldry, the colour is usually excluded from the common colours as well as considered "ambiguous" (could be either colour or metal), and Finnish heraldry restricts its use to certain additaments.[1]

There is at least one instance of it being blazoned as "Imperial Purple".[2] One of the most expensive colors to acquire in ancient times, Tyrian purple was used in the war banner of Byzantine Emperor Komnenos: Purpur (porphyr red) a double-headed eagle displayed Or.

Poetic meanings

The different tinctures are traditionally associated with particular heavenly bodies, precious stones, virtues, and flowers, although these associations have been mostly disregarded by serious heraldists.[3] Purpure is associated with:


See also


  1. ^ "Heraldiset värit". The Heraldic Society of Finland (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 30 July 2013.
  2. ^ Cilia La Corte, John. "Sperver". Dictionary of Heraldry. Retrieved 1 January 2012. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Woodcock, Thomas; Robinson, John Martin (1988). The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 0-19-211658-4.
  4. ^ Elvin, Charles Norton (1889). A Dictionary of Heraldry. p. 5.
  5. ^ Elvin, p. 89.