In heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

, a compartment is a design placed under the shield, usually rocks, a grassy mount (mount vert), or some sort of other landscape upon which the supporters
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects...

 are depicted as standing. Care must be taken to distinguish true compartments from items upon which supporters are merely resting one or more feet, or, sometimes, mere heraldic badges or pure decoration under the shield, and, conversely, care must also be taken in very unusual cases such as the coat of arms of Belize
Coat of arms of Belize
The Coat of Arms of Belize was adopted upon independence, and is only slightly different from the coat of arms used when Belize was a British colony....

, in which what may be taken to be a crest, the mahogany tree rising above the shield, is really part of the compartment. It is sometimes said to represent the land held by the bearer. As an official part of the blazon it is a comparatively late feature of heraldry, often derived from the need to have different supporters for different families or entities, although sometimes the compartment is treated in the blazon
In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image...

 separately from the supporters.

If the compartment is mentioned in the blazon it forms part of the grant and is an integral part of the arms e.g. the current royal arms of the United Kingdom are required to have a compartment with plant badges. If no compartment is specified in the blazon then whether to draw one is at the discretion of the artist. The current arms of the Commonwealth of Australia are usually depicted on a compartment of a wreath of wattle
Wattle may refer to:*Wattle , a fleshy growth hanging from the head or neck of certain animals.*Wattle is another term for Congenital cartilaginous rest of the neck...

, the national flower. It would be acceptable to omit the wattle or substitute something else as it does not form part of the grant.

The decorative flourish which was often placed by heraldic artists under the feet, hooves or paws of supporters, chiefly in the 19th century, was disparagingly known by some as the "gas bracket," although this term never had any official currency; the only case in which something similar was ever actually mentioned in the blazon was the "arabesque" vert on which the whale
Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale sometimes refers to all cetaceans, but more often it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which belong to suborder Odontoceti . This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga...

 supporters of Zaanstad
Zaanstad is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its main town is Zaandam. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.-Population centres:...

, Noord Holland, the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, balance. The compartment of the coat of arms of Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 is similar.

A unique instance in which the supporters stand on the motto scroll is in the arms of New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...


Usually when arms are augmented by supporters, a compartment will be added too. In rare cases, a compartment might be granted as an augmentation. A compartment without supporters is possible but practically unknown, with the exception of the Coat of Arms of South Australia
Coat of arms of South Australia
The Coat of arms of South Australia is the official symbol of the state of South Australia. It was granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 19 April 1984. They replaced a coat of arms granted to the State in 1936....


A compartment is usually some kind of landscape (in the case of Scottish chiefs it is generally a "mount vert" - grassy mount covered with the clan's flower) or seascape, and these can be quite elaborate, particularly in more recent Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 grants, such as the compartment of the University of Northern British Columbia
University of Northern British Columbia
The University of Northern British Columbia is a small, primarily undergraduate university whose main campus is in Prince George, British Columbia. UNBC also has regional campuses in the northern British Columbia cities of Prince Rupert, Terrace, Quesnel, and Fort St. John...

, in which the female
Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces non-mobile ova .- Defining characteristics :The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by the male...

 kermodei bear
Kermode bear
The Kermode bear , also known as a "spirit bear" , is a subspecies of the American Black Bear living in the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. It is noted for about 1/10 of their population having white or cream-coloured coats...

 and woodland caribou buck stand on a forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

, mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

 peaks and ears of wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, all rising out of the conventionalised heraldic representation of water, which is itself charged with an orca
The killer whale , commonly referred to as the orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas...

 as designed by Ron Sebastian. (Compartments can have a specific piece of geography; Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

's compartment is Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian , Nelion and Point Lenana . Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around north-northeast of the capital Nairobi...

 and the compartment of Arbeláez
Arbeláez is a town and municipality in the Cundinamarca Department, Colombia. It limits with Fusagasuga, Pasca and other municipalities of the Sumapaz territory.- External links :* * :es:Arbelaéz*...

, Cundinamarca
Cundinamarca Department
- Origin of the name :The name of Cundinamarca comes from Kundur marqa, an indigenous expression, probably derived from Quechua. Meaning "Condor's Nest", it was used in pre-Columbian times by the natives of the Magdalena Valley to refer to the nearby highlands....

, Colombia is a globe.) However, there are some unusual compartments. The compartment of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is a quadrangle. The arms of the former Cumberland County Council
Cumberland County Council
Cumberland County Council was the county council of Cumberland in the North West of England, an elected local government body responsible for most local services in the county. It was established in 1889 as a result of the Local Government Act 1888. Carlisle was initially within its area but became...

 have a wall as a compartment, while the Canadian Academy of Engineering
Canadian Academy of Engineering
The Canadian Academy of Engineering is a national academy of distinguished professional engineers in all fields of engineering, who are elected on the basis of "their distinguished service and contribution to society, to the country and to the profession."The Academy was founded in 1987...

 has a bridge spanning water. The chief of Clan Donnachaidh
Clan Robertson
Clan Donnachaidh , also known as Clan Robertson, is one of the oldest of all Scottish clans.-Origins:There are two main theories as to the origins of the Clan Donnachaidh:...

 has a man in chains as a compartment, while that of Dundas of that Ilk is "a salamander in flames of fire". The arms of Gisborne, New Zealand
Gisborne, New Zealand
-Economy:The harbour was host to many ships in the past and had developed as a river port to provide a more secure location for shipping compared with the open roadstead of Poverty Bay which can be exposed to southerly swells. A meat works was sited beside the harbour and meat and wool was shipped...

contain another unique compartment.
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