Illustrated Architecture Dictionary
................... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

KOR niss


1. Any crowning projection

2. In classical architecture, the third or uppermost division of an entablature, resting on the frieze. (Includes dentil molding where present)

"The function of the projecting cornice of a building is to throw rainwater free of the building's walls. In residential building practice, this function is handled by projecting gable ends, roof eaves, and gutters. However, house eaves may also be called "cornices" if they are finished with decorative molding. In this sense, while most cornices are also eaves (in that they overhang the sides of the building), not all eaves are usually considered cornices - eaves are primarily functional and not necessarily decorative, and a cornice has a decorative aspect to it." - Wikipedia (online October 2014)

Crown molding: A wide, molding with beveled edges that is used at the junction of an interior wall and ceiling. General term for any molding at the top or "crowning" an architectural element.

Raking cornice: A cornice following the slope (the angled sides) of a gable, pediment or roof

Modillion cornice: A cornice supported by a series of modillions, often found in Composite and Corinthian orders.

Bracketed cornice: term used especially when the brackets are not modillions

Egyptian cornice AKA: Egyptian gorge / Cavetto cornice / Gorge-and-roll cornice / Gorge cornice

Cornice return:  A continuation of a cornice that is wrapped around the gable end of a structure.

Dentils may be present as part of the cornice

See also: entablature which includes the cornice above the frieze

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


The projecting member, usually molded and/or shaped, at the top of a bookcase, cabinet or tallboy, or above the tester of a bed.

Examples from Buffalo area architecture:

Examples from Buffalo area FURNITURE:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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