In the classical architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, a frieze is a long and narrow sculptural band that runs along the middle of an entablature, used for decorative purposes. It sits on top of the column capitals, in between the architrave on the lowest level and the cornice at the top.
In buildings using the Doric architectural order, the frieze is usually consists of alternate triglyphs (projecting rectangular blocks with three vertical channels), and metopes (spaces). In buildings using the Ionic, Corinthian or Composite orders, the frieze is usually ornamented with relief figures. Friezes seen on Roman buildings are usually decorated with plant motifs. Late Roman and many Renaissance structures feature a pulvinated frieze, in which the frieze’s profile is a convex curve.
In the Doric order, triglyphs often appear regularly-spaced on the frieze. These are rectangular details, representative of the beams used to post and beam construction. The spaces between triglyphs are called metopes.
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