[PW] The sable race

Andy Behrens andy at behrens.net
Wed Apr 22 14:11:00 PDT 2015

Carolyn Haley wrote:
> I particularly like the phrase "the sable race." Which made me wonder... what would be a good equivalent for white folks? Is there any non-albino animal that's white all the time, vs. changing coat with the seasons to blend into its background (such as ermine, snowshoe hare, ptarmigan)?
In this phrase, "sable" probably refers to the heraldic term for the color black. By analogy, white folks would be "the argent race". (OK, argent literally is silver, but in heraldry it's used to mean the color white).

Here's a coat of arms with a sable man on it: http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/heraldry/siebmacher/100-vongrumpach.jpg .  The heraldic description is "Or, a man sable maintaining three roses slipped proper" -- in modern English "On a yellow background, a black man holding three roses with stems, drawn in their natural color".

Andy Behrens
Strafford, Vermont

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