Mon (紋) are Japanese emblems used to decorate and identify an individual, a family, or (more recently) an institution or business entity. The devices are similar to the badges and coats of arms in European heraldic tradition, which likewise are used to identify individuals and families. Mon are often referred to as crests in Western literature. Mon may have originated as fabric patterns to be used on clothes in order to distinguish individuals or signify membership of a specific clan or organization. By the twelfth century, sources give a clear indication that heraldry had been implemented as a distinguishing feature, especially for use in battle. It is seen on flags, tents, and equipment. There are no set rules in the design of a mon. Most consist of a roundel encircling a figure of plant, animal, man-made, natural or celestial objects, all abstracted to various degrees. Mon are often used to signify a specific Yagō, or “house name”.