Tradition


Coats of arms

The term heraldry derives from the Germanic word herald, who was the person responsible for identifying and knowing the armorial bearings, especially on the battlefield and in tournaments. The herald also came to be responsible for proofs of nobility, noble law, genealogical studies, titles and dignities, etc. Nowadays, however, heraldry only deals with the study of armorial bearings in all their aspects.



Read more

Watermarks

The watermark served to identify the origin of the paper and the mill where it had been produced, so it functioned as an early form of trademark or logo of the paper mill or papermaker from which it came. It was the papermakers of Fabriano (in Tuscany, Italy) to whom we must attribute the invention. The oldest watermarked sheets of paper from this place are documents found in Cremona dated 1271 (a letter F) and in Bologna, written in 1282 (a Greek cross).



Read more

Signatures

Signatures are usually found in the final part of the documents, in the scatocola, and have a very clear function: to validate and give authenticity to the grantors, the witnesses and the notaries. The notaries’ signs that appear on parchment documents often attract attention because of their striking design.



Read more

Merchant’s marks

The merchant’s mark -senyal de mercaderies- is the sign that identifies a merchant or a company and its main purpose is its immediate recognition. The marks have a monochrome appearance and are usually applied in black ink on paper or on thick cloth, on the matrix seal that validates a document or closes correspondence, or as incisions on containers of goods. The most common element is the cross, usually made with simple strokes, to which is added a variety of symbolism specific to each merchant.



Read more

Seals

Seals were used to identify the ownership of a thing or to guarantee the authenticity and validity of a document. They could also be used as protection against the opening of a document to prevent indiscretion, forgery, loss, etc. In the chancelleries there was a high official in charge of keeping the seals (guardasellos) and authenticating public and private documents. In other cases, the person issuing the documents might have his own seal ring.



Read more