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Archivolts and tympanum from Strasbourg Cathedral
Archivolts at Speyer Cathedral

An archivolt (or voussure) is an ornamental molding or band following the curve on the underside of an arch.[1] It is composed of bands of ornamental moldings (or other architectural elements) surrounding an arched opening, corresponding to the architrave in the case of a rectangular opening. The word is sometimes used to refer to the under-side or inner curve of the arch itself (more properly, the intrados).

The word originates in the Italian (or French) equivalents of the English words arch and vault.


  1. ^ Ching, Francis D.K. (1995). A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 12. ISBN 0-471-28451-3.