Decoration and Motif within a Gothic Cathedral

# Altarpiece : An individual or group of panels or screens located near or on the altar.

# Annulet : A circular finishing found on pillars or piers, sometimes decorated with carvings.

# Archivolt : An ornamental molding seen often in arch shaped portals following the lines of the face with sculpted figures.

# Armatures : Iron framework used within mason-less Rose Windows to support the glass weight.

# Ball flower : An ornamented ball sculpture surmounted in the petals of a flower.

# Bar tracery : The dominant class of Tracery consisting of decorative patterns formed from stone bars..

# Boss (Rib-boss) : Ornamental masonry strips used to conceal the breaks in vault work.

# Chevron :An ancient European design motif consisting of a pattern of pointed zig zags.

# Cinquefoil : A five sided design of converging arcs, often used in frame work.

# Cornice : A decorative horizontal outcropping serving to crown a wall or column.

# Crockets : A distinctive Gothic motif formed of floral and leaf ornamentation. Primarily used on spire and pinnacle sculpture.

# Cusp : Found within Tracery decoration to form the meeting point of foils.

# Fan vaulting : An intricate form of Tracery in which the ribs of a Vault arch out in a concave fan pattern.

# Fillet : Delicate adornment strips applied to shafts and archways along the moldings.

# Finial : An ornamental capping piece placed atop spires.

# Fluting : Carved vertical groove work found on Piers, Columns and Pillars.

# Foils : A small arc design used in Tracery, often utilized within Rose Windows.

# Grisaille : A stained glass window incorporating muted tones as opposed to bright colors.

# Grotesques : A class of decorative sculpture forms often found in or on Gothic structures. A term used broadly for gargoyles, although traditionally a gargoyle serves as a drainage spout for rain water, while a grotesque may function solely as decoration.

Gothic History View the Foundation Stone about Gargoyles

# Lierne vaulting : Vaults containing small decorative rib work not originating from the corners; primarily found in England.

# Moldings : Carved contours given to Piers and columns to exploit optical effects of light.

# Ogee arches : An arch formed by the meeting of two double curves forming a long S shape; a definitive design of the Gothic era.

# Pinnacle :A vertical ornament forming the spire of a turret.

# Predella : A series of small images or carvings at the base of an altarpiece.

# Quadratura : An intended architectural illusion used to create the sense of a larger room.

# Reredos : An elaborate wall carving or screen utilized primarily on or behind the high Altar.

# Spandrels : The semi-triangular space formed by arches and the moldings surrounding them.

# Vesica Pisces : The oval shape created by the intersecting of two equal circles. A ancient symbolic motif which has great significance within many cultures. In Christianity the form represents the sacred Body of Christ.