Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
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Cartouche / Cartouch

An oval shape or  shield ornamental design element usually containing an inscription or date, frequently set in an elaborate scroll frame and bordered with ornament.


An oval which was drawn to contain the hieroglyphs that spelled out a king's or queen's name.

In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oblong enclosure with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name

Sign representing an oval loop of rope with the ends bound together, within which the birthcoronation names of the king are inscribed. Found on obelisks, temples and other monuments. The loops signified the king's universal dominion and magically protected the royal name on monuments. and

Found in derivatives of Classical Greek and Roman architecture, including Beaux Arts Classicism, Classical Revival, Federal, Georgian Revival, Greek Revival, Neoclassicism, Renaissance Revival, Second Empire, Second Empire


The 17th Century Baroque period featured the use of cartouches

Examples from Buffalo architecture:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement ?2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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