The coat of arms of Peru was designed by two congressmen, José Gregorio Paredes and Francisco Javier Cortés, and officially adopted in 1825. It was slightly modified in 1950, but has remained unchanged since then.
There are four different versions of the Peruvian coat of arms: the Escudo de Armas (coat of arms), the Escudo Nacional (national shield), the Gran Sello del Estado (state seal) and the Escudo de la Marina de Guerra (naval shield). All variants, however, share the same escutcheon or shield.
In technical heraldic terms, the escutcheon is parted per fess and semi-parted per pale. In plain English, a horizontal line divides the shield into two halves, with a vertical line dividing the upper half into two sections.
There are three elements on the shield. There is a vicuña, the national animal of Peru, in the top left section. The top right section shows a cinchona tree, from which quinine is extracted (a white crystalline alkaloid with anti-malarial properties, also used to flavor tonic water). The lower section shows a cornucopia, a horn of plenty overflowing with coins.
Together, the three elements on the Peruvian coat of arms represent the flora, fauna and mineral wealth of the nation.