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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Palmette \Pal*mette"\, n. [F., dim. of palme a palm.] A floral ornament, common in Greek and other ancient architecture; -- often called the honeysuckle ornament.


n. A motif in decorative art resembling the fan-shaped leaf of a palm tree.


The palmette is a motif in decorative art which, in its most characteristic expression, resembles the fan-shaped leaves of a palm tree. It has a far-reaching history, originating in Ancient Egypt with a subsequent development through the art of most of Eurasia, often in forms that bear relatively little resemblance to the original. In Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman uses it is also known as the anthemion (from the Greek ανθέμιον, a flower). It is found in most artistic media, but especially as an architectural ornament, whether carved or painted, and painted on ceramics. It is very often a component of the design of a frieze or border. The complex evolution of the palmette was first traced by Alois Riegl in his Stilfragen of 1893. The half-palmette, bisected vertically, is also a very common motif, found in many mutated and vestigial forms, and especially important in the development of plant-based scroll ornament.

Usage examples of "palmette".

The way it fluoresced showed that the palmette border was original, but the Scythian archers had been added using a different glaze or paint.

Ellen pointed to the rim of a large krater, where the floral palmette design was flaking.

An ever present feature, also, is the palmette acroterium, treated in conventional ceramic style.

The acroteria, painted in black and red on the natural surface of poros stone, take the shape of palmettes and lotuses.

Next, making for a particular spot on the wall, she selected one of the palmettes in the plaster moulding and pressed it, whereupon a section of the green silken panelling slid aside to reveal a metal safe.

It represents a female face in relief, as occurs so often in Greek pottery, surrounded by an ornament of lotus, maeander and palmette.