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Another spelling mistake from Canton




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Following fast on the heels of the last article - news of another mistake! The counter pictured was clearly made for the Scott family of Logie, Forfar. Burke gives their arms as: Argent a fess crenellee between three lions' heads erased gules and their motto as 'Aut tace aut face' (either be quiet or act  - or pehaps Put up or shut up!). The crest described gives a lion's head erased holding a cinquefoil in the mouth - but as you will see here the crest on the counter is actually a demi-lion rampant with no trace of a cinquefoil. A fine, large counter with a drilled border made in around 1810. On close inspection, you will see that there has been a 'typo' on some counters where the 'face ' has been replaced by another 'tace' which makes no sense at all any more. It is hardly surprising that transcription errors like this occured: the Chinese workmen copied in amazing detail the totally incomprehensible mottoes and drew those amazing heraldic animals and the highly complex coats of arms - which were all totally alien to their culture. If we had to sit down and copy a few pages of Chinese writing, I wonder what amusing mistakes we would make?

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