Armorials date back to medieval times. Armored soldiers painted symbols on their shields to identify who they were and which side they were on. Eventually the shield and decorations became symbolic elements of armorials for nobility.
Shown above: Charger with the arms of Matthew of Thornborough, about 1730. Jingdezhen, China. Gift of the Munson Campbell Collection, 1992. E83768.
In FreePort [No. 005], Michael Lin transforms traditional armorials into anonymous monochrome silhouettes, stripping the “coat of arms” (the colors, pattern and symbols on the shield) that would convey identity and social position from each armorial.