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Discover the objects on display in the National Palace of Sintra

Heraldic Hall

This square room (each side measuring 12m) occupies the entire piano nobile of the tower built by King Manuel I in the 16th century. The octagonal dome (1517–1518) contains the blazons of the families of Portuguese nobility with the royal coat of arms at the top. The walls were clad in tiles showing scenes of gallantry in the 18th century.


Discover the objects on display in this room.

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Coat of Arms of King Manuel I

The coat of arms of Manuel I (1469–1521), as king of Portugal, is shown at the centre and top of the social hierarchy. Around it are the coats of arms of the eight sons and daughters the king had with Queen Maria of Aragon (1482–1517) prior to 1515.

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The stag on the room’s ceiling is a symbol of justice. On the ribbon, now erased, could be read the motto of King Duarte (1391–1438), the grandfather of Manuel I (1469–1521): “Tan ya serey”.

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Painted between 1710 and 1715 by the artist known as Master P.M.P., the initials he used to sign his works, these tile panels show stag- and bear-hunting scenes, along with others of nobles in outdoor scenes. The depiction of leisure moments was one of the favoured themes used to enrich the country homes of the 18th-century nobility.


The Heraldic Hall is the highest expression of the monarchical ideal of King Manuel I (1469–1521). By placing his blazon at the top of the room’s dome, Manuel I projected himself as the centre and top of a society that was highly hierarchical but interdependent. His power depended on the support of the nobility and the nobility obtained the social status they craved from the king.

The nobility is represented here by the blazons of the 72 most important families. The purpose of these was to ensure individuals identified themselves by their lineage – the ancestors from whom they descended. Manuel I himself displayed his descendants – via the blazons of his eight sons and daughters, which in the case of the latter awaited completion after marriage – as well as his forebears, through the motto of his grandfather, King Duarte, which could once be read on the stags.

The inscription encircling the room reveals how the memory of the services rendered by a person’s ancestors – “loyal services” – defined his or her identity and social position. As for the king, he was the supreme judge who was responsible for ensuring this order was maintained.