Illustrated Architecture Dictionary .............. Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary
Palm / Palmette
Egyptian palm capital
Palmette as part of anthemion
Palm capital: A type of Egyptian capital resembling the spreading crown of a palm tree
Palmette: An ornament derived from a palm leaf
Anthemion / Honeysuckle ornament: A common Greek ornament based upon the honeysuckle or palmette. Used singly on stela or antefixes, or as a running ornament onfiriezes, etx.
Tower of Winds Order
Plate VII, Chapter III, Volume I, Antiquities of Athens, by Stuart and Revett.
"With its single row of acanthus leaves surrounding a single row of palm leaves, the capital is a simplified version of the Greek Corinthian order, and has become known commonly as the Tower of the Winds order."
- Calder Loth, Classical Comments: Tower of the Winds Order (Online Dec. 2012)
It is thought that the palmette originated in ancient Egypt, and was originally based on features of various flowers, including the papyrus and the lotus or lily representing lower and upper Egypt and their fertile union, before it became associated with the palm tree.
In ancient Egypt palmette motifs existed both as a form of flower and as a stylized tree, often referred to as a Tree of Life.
The placement of the palmette-related motifs in ancient Egypt was on the lower registers of temple walls representing emergence of the first fertile mound from the chaos of the primal swamp, on tomb walls, on funereal monuments, on death masks, coffin lids and on door lintels. It is associated both with death and with life.
"Palms were associated with Upper Egypt, fertility, and with the goddesses Hathor and Nut: they were especially sacred to Re, for the branches resembled that deity's high crown. Palm-trees with double or triple trunks were symbolically linked with Min and Thoth. A palm-leaf signified a year, and if worn as a head-dress, signified longevity or even eternity." - James Stevens Curl, The Egyptian Revival: Glossary - Capitals
The fleur de lis, which became a potent and enigmatic emblem of the divine right of kings, said to have been bestowed on early French kings by an angel, evolved in Egypt and Mesopotamia as a variant of the palmette
A palmette is called an anthemion in Greek architecture
One of the chief elements in the classical Greek anthemion. One type of ancient Greek palmette resembles honeysuckle flowers, another is more like a palm leaf. Both were used in bands of anthemion ornament.
An early Corinthian capital has only one row of acanthus leaves with an upper row of palm leaves.
Found in classical Greek and Roman architecture and derivatives, including Beaux Arts Classicism, Federal, Georgian Revival, Greek Revival, Neoclassicism, Renaissance Revival, Second Empire
Found in furniture, Persian rugs, and in classical moldings, reliefs, frescoes, and vase paintings
Examples from Buffalo architecture:
- Illustration above: Palmette as part of anthemion - 678 Main Street
- Albert J. Wright House / Beau Fleuve
- Harlow C. Curtiss House / International Institute) (Sconce: palmette)
- Blessed Trinity RC Church (palmettes)
- Williams-Pratt House (anthemion)
- 591 Delaware Avenue (anthemion)
- Spaulding Building (anthemion)
- Buffalo Savings Bank (anthemion)
- Grover Cleveland H. S. (Tower of the Winds Corinthian order)
- Chair: Margaret Lautz Munschauer House
- Table frieze rail: Wilcox Mansion / Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
- Illustration above: Egyptian palm capital - British Museum, London, England
- Egyptian palm capital - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
- Wrought iron gate ornamentation - Albright Memorial Library, Scranton, Pa.
- Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens, Greece (anthemion)
- Corinthian capital - Olympia Museum, Greece
- Furniture: chair crest- Residence Museum, Munich, Germany