His device: (Fieldless) On a hexagon Or a rabbit's head cabossed sable.

Heraldic Banners
by Ishiyama Gen'tarou Yori'ie

Kanji for his name

The hata-jirushi style banner is one of the three main styles of battlefield banner used during the warring-states period of Japanese history. The nobori banner has tabs along the top and one side, and its suspensory pole has a cross-piece. The sashimono is similar to a nobori, but is smaller and is typically used to mark an individual rather than a group. Jin-maku are not technically banners but are "curtains" used to surround and enclose a camp; for the camps of nobles, they often depicted the mon of the noble whose camp it was.

Banners for Groups

Ęthelmearc Populace

This banner is 100% linen, painted with the populace badge for the kingdom. The design was stencilled and hand-painted using Jacquard "Neopaque" acrylic fabric paints. There are two coats of paint on all elements, but the red dye is so energetic that most of the white paint turned a little pink.

Here's a 15-foot long banner for Aethelmearc, in the form of a jinmaku Japanese camp curtain. The fabric is just cotton/poly broadcloth, and the lettering is Jacquard Neopaque. I had to cut and serge all those stripes together to get the circus tent effect. The lettering was more-or-less freehanded first in chalk, then completed in paint.

Ęthelmearc's "Seven Pearls"

The seven Baronies of the Sylvan Kingdom of Ęthelmearc are known as the "Seven Pearls", and they have a tradition of gift-giving between them. I was asked to make narrow banners for all seven of the Pearls, so that it would be easier to display all the banners together on smaller stages. These are all silk banner with hand-braided suspensory cords. I also organized the BMDL Woodworking Guild to craft the stands and poles used to display the banners. The leftmost hata-jirushi banner is the populace badge of Ęthelmearc, then we have banners for the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, Barony of Thescorre, Barony of the Rhydderich Hael, Barony of Delftwood, Barony of Blackstone Mountain, Barony of Endless Hills, and Barony of St. Swithins' Bog.

Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands Populace

Our local barony had a baronial birthday party, with an Arts and Sciences competition, so I decided to make a baronial hata-jirushi banner in the same style as my baronial kataginu, and display it on the hatadai banner stand.

Banner is black linen, cut and edged to simulate traditional Japanese fabric width, and hand painted with BMDL populace badge in modern fabric paint.

Here's a 15-foot long banner for the BMDL and the SCA, in the form of a jinmaku Japanese camp curtain. The fabric is just cotton/poly broadcloth, and the lettering is Jacquard Neopaque. I made this banner so we'd have something to put up at our outdoor martial practices. They are right along a busy road, So I thought advertising some web sites that would explain who we are might be a good idea. It has come in handy at events too. The lettering was stencilled on first in chalk, then completed in paint.

This pennon style banner is about five feet long, painted with Jacquard "Dye-na-flow" paint on silk broadcloth. The comet was kept white by pre-painting with a water-based resist. The outlines were done with a black gutta resist, then the field and border were colored with paint. This was on display in Aethelmearc's camp at the SCA 50-Year celebration.

Clan Yama Kaminari

The first two are white acrylic paint on red linen/rayon to make a couple of hata-jirushi vertical banners for decorative purposes. Both display the personal mon of Sir Ogami Akira, which also is used as the mon for Clan Yama Kaminari.

The third was a test to see if water-based resist couldbe used to mask off the mon area of a banner to keep it white while the rest of the fabric was painted red. It worked OK, though not amazingly well. I turned the fabric into a sashimono banner like the kind that is worn on the back of armor. The tabs are just ribbon that is sewn in place, then secured with snaps. Yes, regular metal snaps. They have to be a little offset because where the tabs are sewn on is too thick for the snaps to crimp properly.

One Knight Inne Household subordinate to Clan Yama Kaminari

Clan Yama Kaminari is organized as a clan of clans, and the household that I am in, One Knight Inne, is within CYK. This hata-jirushi banner was made of the same linen-rayon blenc as the Clan banners, but I added the household badge beneath the clan mon. I painted the blue lozenge-shaped field first, then painted the white chevron and chess knight on top of that. There is still a bit of bleed-through from the red fabric, making the white charges a little pink.

One Knight Inne Household

What good is a banner stand without a banner? I made this banner so that I'd have something to display, and so that our SCA household, "One Knight Inne", would have its own banner. This banner is designed to imitate a Japanese "hata-jirushi" style banner.

The fabric is some leftover navy blue linen I had around, and I made a stencil to guide the application of some white fabric paint to match our household's registered badge. The paint didn't come out perfect, but it's OK. I should really learn how to do screen printing.

Banners for Positions

Royal Heirs to the Kingdom of Aethelmearc

Her excellency Hildarun Hugelman mentioned to me that dspite all of the regalia our Kingdom of Aethelmearc has for the King and Queen, there was really nothing for the Prince and Princess to display besides their coronets. These seemed like a a fairly simple omission to rememdy, so I made a couple banners for the heirs. These are acrylic paint on red linen. The white "label" above the escarbuncle and laurel wreath makes this for the heirs instead of for the King and Queen. These started seeing use almost immediately, and I am very proud of them. I think the painting turned out really neatly. I made a few paper stencils to chalk in the shapes, then did all the painting by hand.

Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands

The Barony has a really excellent banner, but it's huge. For times when there isn't enough room to be impressive, I made this narrow hata-jirushi using acrylic fabric paint on black linen. It was kind of tiring to do this much embattling, but after some discussions with friends it seemed like it would make the nicest banner. I masked off the embattling with tape, then painted it by hand. The comet and wreath had to be made a little smaller to fit inside, but they are still mostly visible.

BMDL Seneschal

I decided to embark on a long term project to make a banner for every Baronial office and official position in the Barony. This was not the first one I made, but the Seneschal is the lead officer and chair of officer meetings, so it's at the top of this list. I don't have this on hand, but I think I painted a black disc, and then painted the rest of the populace badge on top of that. Then, I painted the Seneschal's key beneath in metallic fabric paint. This is real linen, I think.

BMDL Exchequer

I decided to extend the "chequey" part of this badge all the way from the populace badge down to the bottom hem, which was a lot of painting, but looks good, I think. This is all acrylic paint on blue linen.

BMDL Chatelaine

Since I'd already made the stencil for the key, making this banner was a little simpler. I just had to rotate the key 90 degrees. This green linen is thinner, so the black background of the populace badge is painted using Dye-na-flow instead of acrylic. This makes the banner a little more flexible and flowy.

BMDL Minister of Arts and Sciences

This was the first officerial banner I made, because I was this minister at the time. When I became A&S minister, the only regalia for the office was a small medallion. This banner enables the minister to announce their presence, and the location of A&S activities at practices and events.

The only real artistic choice I made here was to make the candle flame gold instead of just white. I painted some subtle yellow highlights on the inside of the arch, too.

BMDL Web Minister

After I was A&S minister, I became webminister. When I was a teen, I loved drawing little spiders, so drawing the big spider for this banner was retro-fun for me. I treated a piece of white linen with No-Flow, then painted on all of the designs in Dye-na-flow. I'm not entirely sure why, but I had a hard time getting the paint to fix to the fabric, which yielded this unintentional "antiqued" look. I actually had to paint this banner twice because too much of the paint washed out the first time. I do like how the spider came out, though.

BMDL Chronicler

This one is shown mounted in my PVC modular silk stretching frame. The fabric is silk twill, and the colors are all Dye-na-flow paints. I tried to use "No Flow" to avoid the heavy gutta outlines, but for some reason the No Flow sizing interfered too much with the setting of the paint, and most of the color washed out. I followed the ghostly design with black gutta, and repainted, which yielded good results.

BMDL Comet Pursuivant

Continuing with my long term project to make banners for all of the Baronial officers, here is the banner for our chief herald. The arms of the office of the herald are gold Neopaque, with outlines and details in black Neopaque. The populace badge is white and yellow Neopaque, with the black filled in using Dye-na-flow. The fabric is a lightweight green linen. I bought a new brush just before starting work on this, a mid-size round brush with a pointy tip. I was so happy with it!

BMDL Knight Marshal

This banner and the Fencing Marshal banner are something of collaborations. I led a small workshop in banner painting a while ago at one of our local Arts&Sciences "Practices", and participants could work on their own banner or help with the Baronial project. The populace badge portion of each of these is the product of that workshop, and I just had to paint on the emblem. These are both acrylic fabric paint on black linen.

BMDL Fencing Marshal

Though the "Marshal of Fence" is no longer its own officer position, I decided to include it on my list because the rapier practice is often in a different part of the field than the heavy fighting. Again, the populace badge portion of this banner (as well as the previous banner for heavy fighting) was done by somebody else in a workshop, and I just had to add the crossed rapiers.

BMDL Archery Marshal

The last in my martial series. I had run out of banner blanks with prepainted poulace badges, so this one was fron scratch. The blank had already been edged and hemmed, however, which sped the completion of this one. It is Neopaque acrylic fabric paint on linen. This one's a little longer to compensate for having been later than the others.

BMDL Minister of Lists

The Minister of Lists is responsible for organizing and running tournaments within the Barony. The gold ring on the populace badge and the black outlines on the MOL badge are acrylic Neopaque paint, but the rest of the design is a combination of resists to protect the white areas and Dye-na-flow paint. This yeilds a more flowy, luminous banner, but it's a more work. You really have to be aggressive with the resists to prevent the color from flowing onto your white areas, and wash carefully to keep the color from bleeding into the white areas later.

BMDL Minister Minor

The Minister Minor is responsible for youth activities in the Barony. Similarly painted and resisted like the MOL banner, this one has simpler but larger heraldry, so I used roughly a full bottle of violet Dye-na-flow. I had good results from dripping the paint in with a dropper, brushing to spread, then water brushing on the back to smooth. This is really faster than brushing the color on, when you're dealing with such large areas. Anyway, this was the final banner in my Baronial Officer series, so it was good to close out this project after working on banners for it over the course of several years.

Banners for Individuals

Sir Maghnus Cnoic n'An Iora

Sir Maghnus is the head of our household, so I decided to tackle his difficult arms as a banner. Yes, painting that repeating pattern (called "vair") by hand was a pain, but I figured it was easier to just do it than to figure out some clever way of avoiding that work by doing some other kind of work.

Sir Thomas Byron of Haverford

When one of the people in the One Knight Inne household 'was being knighted, I decided to make this personal banner for him as a gift. His lady wife made him a huge, beautiful, sewn banner. Hers is much more impressive, but this one is a little more portable.

Sir Ariella of Thornbury

After making a banner for her husband when he was knighted, how could I not make one for Ariella to celebrate her elevation? I used a slightly different technique for this one, starting with a yellow linen instead of white. That meant that half of the "gyrony" part was already done. I used green Dye-na-flow one top of the yellow fabric for the rest. At first I thought I might want to use blue, but green was better in my tests. The "vair" chief was painted using white and black Neopaque in my usual style.

Mistress Honnoria of Thescorre

This banner is more of a flag than a banner, and it was made for Mistress Honnoria because she asked me to. Plus, she's going to make something ceramic for me. The banner is "Dye-na-flow" paint on silk broadcloth, with a black gutta resist for the outlines.

Mistress Gwendolyn the Graceful

When Gweondolyn received her writ for elevation to the Order of the Laurel, she realized that she did not have a banner that would befit her new status. She contacted me just after receiving her writ, and we talked about her arms and the type of banner that would best display them. My normal style of banner is tall and narrow, but since her arms are divided vertically, that would make the charges very small due to the narrow space. We decided to go with a double width on the banner, which was actually not all that uncommon for Japanese banners. I've seen illustrations of banners that were for or five strips wide.

Anyway, I used a black gutta resist to do all of the outlining on silk broadcloth, then I colored in the tinted regions using Dye-na-flow pigments.

I also create a dozen pennons for her supporters to wave during her procession into court. These were made by zig-zagging them down a tall, single width of fabric, and then cutting them apart along the gutta lines. Then I sewed on some bits of ribbon and tied them to sticks. Combining these with some banners I had in my collection for groups that we are both in, her procession made a fluttery and cheerful heraldic impact in court.

Master Kieran MacRae

Here's a banner I made for my friend Kieran MacRae. He changed his heraldry, and needed to rebuild his stock of tabards and banners from scratch. I decided to pitch in because I could.

The fabric is some white linen I had in stock. The color is all "textile color" paint, which is more like a liquid pigment than the paint I normally use on linen. It soaks in and doesn't change the hand of the fabric as much. It only works well on light fabric, though.

Mistress Shirin al-Susiyya

Azure, a bend dancetty between two dragons segreant argent

My friend Shirin al-Susiyya was being elevated to the Order of the Laurel in May 2022, so I decided to make a banner for her as a gift. I completed this banner in June 2022, and gave it to her at Pennsic in August.

The fabric is some nice navy blue raw silk. The paints are acrylic fabric paints. It took me a little longer than I was hoping, so it wasn't finished in time for her elevation, but she has it now.

More words and pictures about my banner-painting process at the blog post for this project.

Ishiyama Gen'tarou Yori'ie

The fabric is shibori-dyed twice, once in golden yellow and once in black. The hexagonal pattern in black didn't come out exactly how I was hoping, but it's interesting nevertheless. This banner is a little wider than the others, but I couldn't bring myself to cut it down or hem it. The bunny head is hand-painted, in my usual style.

This banner is my favorite personal banner so far. This is one you want to zoom in on. I treated the silk fabric with a sizing agent called "No Flow", then used Dye-na-flow paint as ink to copy rabbit illustrations from the period emaki scroll know as the Choju Giga. The illustrations are just about all of the bunnies found in the scroll, though some have been combined to include more bunnies and fewer others. My badge at the top is also Dye-na-flow. The sizing keeps the paint from wicking along the fibers and enables the clean lines of the illustrations.

My shibori banner is a little wide, and cannot be packed with the most of the rest of my hata-jirushi-style banners. Also, it is getting a little faded from use. The silk banner is far too precious to ever be used outside. So, I decided that I needed a hardier banner that would stand up to some abuse, and would not be as much work to create in the first place. This banner is made from bright yellow cotton canvas. I painted the hexagon and bunny head in fabric pigment, then added the details on top in Neopaque. It's not perfect, but it is great for its intended use.

Please view other areas of Ishiyama's SCA pages.

Ishiyama Gen'tarou Yori'ie is known mundanely as Elliott C. Evans. He can be reached via email to ishiyama{at}ee0r.com