Maureen Eltschinger (née Yeo)
Singapore & China
Artist: Laurent Granier, France
Registered in The Chinese Armorial, November 18, 2012.
Arms: Gules, between the Chinese characters for "Yang" in seal script Or in chief and a lotus flower Or in base, two pairs of liuye dao or willow leaf sabers Argent wards upward crossed in saltire.
Crest: On a wreath Gules, Argent, and Or, a demi-Chinese phoenix or fenghuang Or, winged and crested Gules.
Helm: A Chinese cavalry steel helmet of the 13th to 16th centuries affronty, with edges and rivets Or.
Mantling: Gules, Argent, and Or.
Motto: DETERMINATION IS VICTORY
Assumed: January 28, 2008.
Background and History:
Maureen Yeo comes from a family of business people from Singapore and southern China. She and Cyrill Eltschinger met in Singapore, and she then moved to Beijing. They got engaged on the door steps of the St. Nicolas Cathedral in Fribourg, Switzerland, where they also got married. Mr. Eltschinger is a Swiss businessman and founder of I.T. UNITED (1998), a software outsourcing information technology company that was later merged and became Softtek China in August 2007.
Mr. Eltschinger commissioned the French heraldry master, Mr. Laurent Granier, to design new coats of arms for him and his finacée for use on banners at their medieval-theme wedding in Switzerland. Whereas Mr. Eltschinger's coat of arms is based on the two old Swiss arms of his parents, Ms. Yeo's coat of arms is a completely new design using ancient Chinese symbols.
Yeo is the Hokkien and Teochew pronunciation of the surname Yang (杨), notably in Singapore and Malaysia. The coat of arms is blazoned to depict the name in seal script, an ancient style of calligraphy used on Chinese seals. Ms. Yeo's family has such a seal with the family name. Although including family names in shields is not usually encouraged in Western heraldry, it is common in ancient Asian history to see characters on banners that belong to military leaders and/or land rulers. M. Granier made an exception for Ms. Yeo's coat of arms because Chinese words are based on ideograms (Another notable exception is the coat of arms of Sir John Yocklunn).
M. Granier chose the Chinese swords to symbolize Ms. Yeo being "a combative young woman." This is especially appropriate because ancient tales of Chinese history mention a famous female General by the name of Yang (杨). Also, the willow leaf swords were selected as charges because the word the name character 杨(Yang or Yeo) can also mean a willow tree. These four willow leaf swords are the driving force and symbol of Ms. Yeo's husband, Cyrill Eltschinger, and the numeral 4 appears on the ancient coat of arms of his mother’s family (de Gottrau).
The lotus flower symbolizes her Buddhist religion. The Chinese phoenix or fenghuang is a popular mythological creature of the Chinese. The colours red and gold are traditional Chinese colours. Red represents life, luck, and prosperity.
Editor's note: the number of swords, four, may seem like an odd choice of quantity given the Chinese superstition about the number 4 being unlucky. However, the armiger's husband, Cyrill Eltschinger, considers 4 to be his lucky number, probably because it appears on his mother's coat of arms (de Gottrau). His motto in French, "UN EN VAUT QUATRE", could be interpreted to mean "One is worth much" (or "You are worth a lot") but translates literally to "One is worth four” hearts (of heart).
The French have many idioms that use the number four (quatre) to symbolize much or many (e.g., un de ces quatre matins, quatre à quatre, faire les quatre cents coups). By using the number 4 on the husband's coat of arms and French motto and by putting four swords on the wife's shield, the Eltschingers are converting the number 4 from unlucky to lucky by giving it French connotations.
Thanks to Laurent Granier for providing information about the coats of arms, wedding, and use of heraldry of Cyrill Eltschinger and Maureen Yeo.