Hatching (sometimes called hachure, from the French word) is a conventional system for monochrome denotation of heraldic armory, whereby the tinctures (colours) are represented by dots and lines. This technique is employed in cases where colours, for either aesthetic, practical or economic reasons are not reproduced - e.g. on surfaces such as woodcuts or engravings, seals and coins.
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Several systems of hatchings were developed during the Renaissance as an alternative to tricking, the earlier method of indicating heraldic tinctures by use of written abbreviations. The present day hatching system was developed during the 1630s by Silvester Petra Sancta and Marcus Vulson de la Colombière. Some earlier hatching methods were also developed, but did not come into wide use.
Tricking is an alternative method which has the same purpose as hatching.