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Ogee: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ogee arch
Ogee molding and its shadow pattern.

An ogee (pronounced /oʊˈdʒiː/ or /ˈoʊdʒiː/) is a curve, shaped somewhat like an S, consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite senses, so that the ends are parallel.

The term has uses in architecture, mathematics, and fluid mechanics, as well as clock design and plastic surgery.


Twin ogee-arched portals at the entrance to the Monastery of Jesus of Setúbal, Portugal.

Use in architecture

In architecture, the term is used for a molding with an ogee-shaped profile, consisting (going from low to high) of a concave arc flowing into a convex arc, with vertical ends; alternative names for such a molding include cyma reversa and talon.[citation needed]

The cyma reversa form occurs in antiquity. For example, in ancient Persia, the Tomb of Cyrus featured the cyma reversa.[1] The cyma reversa is also evident in ancient Greek architecture.[2] The ogee shape is one of the characteristics of the Gothic style of architecture, especially decorative elements in the 14th and 15th century late Gothic styles called Flamboyant in France and Decorated in England. Ogee windows and arches were introduced to European cities from the Middle East. The ogee curve is an analogue of a "cyma curve", the difference being that a cyma has horizontal rather than vertical ends.

The ogee profile is used in decorative molding, often framed between moldings with a square section. As such it is part of the standard classical decorative vocabulary, adopted from architrave and cornice moldings of the Ionic order and Corinthian order. An ogee is also often used in the "crown molding" frequently found at the top of a piece of case furniture, or for capping a baseboard or plinth, or where a wall meets the ceiling. An ogee molding may be run in plaster or wood, or cut in stone or brickwork.

Other uses

Ogee clock, framed with ogee molding.

Ogee is also a mathematical term, meaning an inflection point; the aesthetic appeal of the ogee curve forms part of the leitmotif of the Booker-prize winning novel The Line of Beauty.

In fluid mechanics, the term is used for an ogee-shaped aerodynamic profile. For example, a wing may have ogee profile, particularly on supersonic aircraft such as the Concorde. Also, the downstream face of a dam spillway is usually formed in an ogee curve to minimize water pressure.

An "ogee clock" is a common kind of weight-driven 19th-century pendulum clock in a simplified Gothic taste, made in the United States for a mantelpiece or to sit upon a wall bracket. It is rectangular, with ogee-profile molding that frames a central glass door that protects the clock face and the pendulum. The door usually carries a painted scene in the area beneath the face. Ogee clocks are one of the most commonly encountered varieties of American antique clocks.

In aesthetic facial surgery, the term is used to describe the malar or cheekbone prominence transitioning into the mid-cheek hollow. The aim of a mid-face rejuvenation is to restore the ogee curve and enhance the cheekbones. This enhancement is also commonly a part of a routine facelift.

See also



  1. ^ C.M.Hogan, 2008
  2. ^ W.B.Dinsmoor, 1973


  • William Bell Dinsmoor and William James Anderson (1973) The architecture of ancient Greece: an account of its historic development, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 424 pages ISBN 0819602833.
  • C.Michael Hogan (2008) Tomb of Cyrus, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

OGEE (probably an English corruption of Fr. ogive, a diagonal groin rib, being a moulding commonly employed; equivalents in other languages are Lat. cyma-reversa, Ital. gola, Fr. cymaise, Ger. Kehlleisten), a term given in architecture to a moulding of a double curvature, convex and concave, in which the former is the uppermost (see Moulding). The name "ogee-arch" is often applied to an arch formed by the meeting of two contrasted ogees (see Arch) .

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