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Ornament may refer to:


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ORNAMENT (Lat. ornare, to adorn), in decorative art, that element which adds an embellishment of beauty in detail. Ornament is in its nature accessory, and implies a thing to be ornamented, which is its active cause and by rights suggests its design (q.v.). It does not exist apart from its application. Nor is it properly added to a thing already in existence (that is but a makeshift for design), but is rather such modification of the thing in the making as may be determined by the consideration of beauty. For example, the construction and proportions of a chair are determined by use (by the necessity of combining the maximum of strength with the minimum of weight, and of fitting it to the proportions of the human body, &c.); and any modification of the plan, such as the turning of legs, the shaping of arms and back, carving, inlay, mouldings, &c. - any reconsideration even of the merely utilitarian plan from the point of view of art - has strictly to do with Ornament, which thus, far from being an afterthought, belongs to the very inception of the thing. Ornament is good only in so far as it is an indispensable part of something, helping its effect without hurt to its use. It is begotten of use by the consideration of beauty. The test of ornament is its fitness. It must occupy a space, fulfil a purpose, be adapted to the material in which and the process by which it is executed. This implies treatment. The treatment befitting a wall space does not equally befit a floor space of the same dimensions. What is suitable to hand-painting is not equally suitable, to stencilling; nor what is proper to mosaic proper to carpet-weaving. Neither the purposes of decoration nor the conditions of production allow great scope for naturalism in ornament. Its forms are derived from nature, more or less; but repose is best secured by some removedness from nature - necessitated also by the due treatment of material after its kind and according to its fashioning. In the case of recurring ornament it is inept to multiply natural flowers, &c., which at every repetition lose something of their natural attraction. The artist in ornament does not imitate natural forms. Such as he may employ he transfigures. He does not necessarily set out with any idea of natural form (this comes to him by the way); his first thought is to solve a given problem in design, and he solves it perhaps most surely by means of abstract ornament - witness the work of the Greeks and of the Arabs. The extremity of tasteless naturalism, reached towards the beginning of the Victorian era, was the opportunity of English reformers, prominent amongst whom was Owen Jones, whose fault was in insisting upon a form of ornament too abstract to suit English ideas. William Morris and others led the way back to nature, but to nature trained in the way of ornament. The Styles of ornament, so-called, mark the evolution of design, being the direct outcome of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Gothic or other conditions, in days when fashion moved slowly. PostRenaissance ornament goes by the name of the reigning king; but the character of the historic periods was not sought by artists; it came of their working in the way natural to them and doing their best. "Style," as distinguished from "the Styles," comes of an artist's intelligent and sympathetic treatment of his material, and of his personal sincerity and strength. International traffic has gone far to do away with national characteristics in ornament, which becomes yearly more and more alike all the world over. The subsidiary nature of ornament and its subjection to conditions lead to its frequent repetition, which results in pattern, repeated forms falling inevitably into lines, always self-asserting, and liable to annoy in proportion as they were not foreseen by the designer. He cannot, therefore, safely disregard them. Indeed, his first business is to build pattern upon lines, if not intrinsically beautiful, at least helpful to the scheme of decoration. He may disguise them; but capable designers are generally quite frank about the construction of their pattern, and not afraid of pronounced lines. Of course, adaptation being all-essential to pattern, an artist must be versed in the technique of any manufacture for which he designs. His art is in being equal to the occasion. (L. F. D.)


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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


The mention made in the Old Testament of numerous articles of adornment leads to the conclusion that in antiquity self-adornment occupied among both men and women the same place as it does to-day in the Orient. It is probable, however, that only the rich men decorated themselves, whereas even the poorest woman managed to find some adornment; and the rich woman, then, as now in the Orient, was distinguished from the poor one by the number of her ornaments (comp. Isa 3:16 et seq.). The following are the general designations for ornaments: (1) "keli," in Isa 61:10, for those of the bride; (2) "'adi," in Ex 33:4, for those of a man, and in Jer 2:32 for those of a woman; (3) "migdanot," in Gen 24:53 and 2Chr 21:3. As special articles of adornment are mentioned the following: "nezem," both ear- and nose-ring (Prov 25:12; Isa 3:21); earrings, on account of their round form, were probably called also "'agil" (Num 31:50), or "neṭifot" (Isa 3:19) because they were shaped like a drop.

The necklace, variously called "ḥali" (Prov 25:12), "ḥelyah" (Hos 2:15), "'anaḳ" (Song 4:9), was worn both by women (Ezek 16:11) and by men (Prov 1:9, iii. 3). It probably did not consist of a mere single gold or silver circlet, but of several chains united (comp. Song 4:9). Smelling-bottles ("batte nefesh"; Isa 3:20), and especially ornaments in the form of little moons ("saharonim"; Isa 3:18) and suns ("shebisim"), were attached to such chains. "Kumaz" was probably another designation for necklace (Ex 35:22; Num 31:50). To judge from the Arabic "kuma'at," it consisted of little gold balls strung together. The seal-ring ("ḥotam") was worn on a string ("petil") round the neck by men, just as by the dwellers in the cities of Arabia to-day (comp. Robinson, "Palästina," i. 98). Afterward the ring was worn on the right hand, according to Jer 22:24 (comp. Gen 41:42), and on the arm, according to Song 8:6. Probably there was set in the ring a precious stone, perhaps an onyx ("shoham"), on which a picture or monogram was inscribed (comp. Ex 28:11). This ring, together with the staff ("maṭṭeh"), doubtless richly decorated, was the chief adornment of the Israelites as of the Babylonians (comp. Herodotus, i. 195; Strabo, 16, 1, 20). Bracelets("ẓamid") are mentioned more frequently (Gen 24:22, xxx. 47; Ezek 16:11.). It is doubtful in what respect "eẓ'adah" (Num 31:50; 2 Sam 1:10) differs from "ẓamid"; perhaps the latter was worn on the wrist, and the former on the upper arm. The "sherot" (literally "chains") mentioned in Isa 3:19 were probably likewise ornaments for the arm (comp. the Arabic "siwar"). Finger-rings ("ṭabba'ot") were worn by women (Isa 3:21), but the word designates also the seal-ring (comp. Ex 35:22; Num 31:50).

All sorts of ornaments were fastened to women's girdles; e.g., smelling-bottles ("batte nefesh"), bags ("ḥariṭim"), and mirrors ("gilyonim"). Anklets ("'akasim"), fastened above the ankle, were also worn (Isa 3:18). They were frequently joined together with chains in order to keep the pace of the wearer even.

The importance of these ornaments for Israelites of all times may be judged from the fact that they were worn as amulets ("leḥashim"; Isa 3:20; comp. Gen 35:4), just as these are worn to-day among the Arabs, to whom "amulet" and "ornament" are identical expressions. It is probable that ornaments were usually of gold or silver, or, among the poorer population, of bronze, after the fashion of the modern poor Egyptian women, who wear brass rings with glass balls. The fact that precious stones were used as ornaments is evidenced in passageslike 2 Sam 12:30; Ex 28:8 et seq.; Ezek 28:13 et seq. Such stones as could be engraved were especially valued for rings (comp. Ex 31:5, xxxv. 33).

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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