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MAIN GLOSSARY | GLOSSARY OF wood  |
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ABACUS
An architectural term referring to a flat slab or tablet placed horizontally on top of the capital of a column as an aid in supporting the architrave.

ACANTHUS
The most important decorative scrolled leaf motif used throughout classical design. It is used extensively in architecture and furniture design over the centuries predominantly in rinceaux and is particularly prevalent in furniture design during the Baroque and Rococo Periods.

ALLOY
An amalgam of two or more metals. For example, bronze is an alloy of copper and tin in various proportions, sometimes with traces of other metals.

AMPHORA
A Grecian style urn used to hold precious oils in antiquity.

ANNEALING
A process in which glass, metals, and other materials are treated to render them less brittle and more workable. Annealing consists of heating the material and then cooling it very slowly and uniformly; the time and temperatures required in the process are set according to the properties desired. Annealing increases ductility and lessens the possibility of a failure by relieving internal strains. It is necessary to anneal silver for instance at frequent intervals during the creation of formed silver pieces such as Tureens and other beautiful pieces used for serving and decoration.

APPLIQUE
A decorative motif formed by cutting, casting or carving pieces of one material and applying them to the surface of another. A decorative element that has been cut, cast or carved separately and then attached to the body of a piece of furniture or architectural paneling. Also used by the French for the word sconce or wall light.

APRON
An extended area below the frame of a table, cabinet, chest of drawers or the bottom edge of the seat of a chair.

ARABESQUE
In art, a term applied to any complex, line decoration based on flowing lines. In Islamic art it was often exploited to cover entire surfaces. The arabesque in modern usage derives from a Renaissance design which was Greco-Roman in inspiration.

ARCHITRAVE
In architecture, the principal beam and lowest member of the classical entablature, the other main members of which are the frieze and the cornice. Its position is directly above the columns, and it extends between them.

ARMOIRE
A tall cupboard or wardrobe designed originally to store arms or armor. Originally developed during the Renaissance, armoires were later heavily carved in prized woods such as walnut with elaborate floral and figural motifs characteristic of the provence or country where it was fabricated.

ATLANTES
From the Latin plural of Atlas, sculptural male figures serving as supports of entablatures, in place of a column or pier. Also known as telamon. The earliest (c.480?460 B.C.) and most important example from antiquity is in the Greek temple of Zeus at Agrigento, Sicily. The baroque architecture of the 17th century made considerable use of atlantes, as did the classical revival in the early 19th century. Female supporting figures are called caryatids.

ATTRIBUTES
Refers to symbolic representations of important events depicted as decorative motifs. For example, rifles and game are attributes of the hunt; palm fronds are attributes of victory.

AUBUSSON
One of the most important of the French tapestry companies established in the early 16th century in the former province of Marche, specializing in woven tapestries. A tapestry or usually pile-less, densely patterned carpet woven in characteristic Aubusson styles.

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