Supporters and Compartments
Supporters are figures, usually beasts, Chimercal creatures or of human form, placed on either side of the shield to "support it." Unlike other elements in a coat of arms, supporters have no practical origin and cannot be traced with any certainty before the fifteenth century, Though similar devices may be found in early seals, where theyoccupy the interstices between the shield and the outer decorative border, their original purpose was almost certainly decorative. Others originated as personal devices were used in seals and later traslated into badges and crests.

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In a coat of arms, the base on which the supporters are sometimes depicted is called a compartment. This is usually a grassy mound though it may take other, more appropriate, forms acording to the theme.

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