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The Wikipedia background design[edit]

"The Wikipedia background design: a modern application of the palmette motif"

ahem, who came up with that idea ? as i see it (and it makes a lot of sense) the background shows an open book from the side. No palmette anywhere..... I removed it in my Edit of May 9th, 0:30 UTC

-- 00:22, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia background

The suggestion is simply that images like this, and echoes of similar shapes, seem meaningful to people. It seems as though the photographer and the designer of the page were at least partly aware of this. The book chosen to represent Wikipedia could have been shown from any other angle, but they liked this particular view. 15:21, 11 May 2006 (UTC)


Hello Thank you for your work on pages like Palmette. But, please consider using the Show Preview button to combine multiple edits. This will make life easier for your fellow editors.

Hu, interesting, thanks - sorry if I saved over any edits - you may be the first person to visit this page. -- AM 8 Nov. 2005 (UTC).
I didn't check to see if any edits have been "saved over", since I assume this amount of work is being done with care. I simply advocate a tiny bit of extra care to combine edits so that people can easily look to see what changes have been made. When I saw more than 50 edits to the page, I was unable to easily compare the current version with the version before you began the series of edits. I don't think there is a problem, but I haven't checked, because I am optimistic. I seek to encourage good editing. Lots of little refinements to smooth Wiki editing flow that you'll acquire as time progresses. Please consider picking a user name or ID and registering it. It is free and easy and gives your editing a good sense of continuity. Hu 04:18, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Hu thanks, yes. For the record, before the additions I made from 3 to 8 November 2005 the article/stub 'Palmette' had the following contents:


Palmette also called anthemion (from the Greek ανθεμιον, a flower) is an art style based on the fan-shaped leaves of a palm tree. It was largely employed in the Greek/Roman era to decorate:
  1. the fronts of ante-fixae,
  2. the upper portion of the stele or vertical tombstones,
  3. the necking of the Ionic columns of the Erechtheum and its continuation as a decorative frieze on the walls of the same, and
  4. the cymatium of a cornice.
Though generally known as the honeysuckle ornament, from its resemblance to that flower, its origin will be found in the flower of the acanthus plant.

End quote AM 23:51, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

maru (talk) contribs 05:18, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

maru (talk) contribs 05:18, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

maru (talk) contribs 05:18, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

I have moved this section of the article to the talk page for discussion:

Deducing meaning from context and placement

Both in ancient and in modern usage, in East and West, the grouping of motifs we have discussed has a sacred, auspicious and often magical or miracle-working connotation, further incorporating a sublimation of sexual union and fertility. Associated both with flowers and with palm trees, the palmette brings together the fertility symbolism of both. Both the calyx of the flower and the crown of the palm tree are the centre of reproductive activity and the source of new growth, and both are graphically associated with human sexuality. The method of artificial fertilization of pistillate (female) flowers of the palm tree using the staminate (male) flowers seems to have been known to the ancient world, as depicted in Assyrian reliefs [1] apparently showing the sprinkling of pollen on a stylized palm-tree with palmette-flowers.

The most common placement of the palmette or anthemion in the ancient world was its architectural use in a repeating pattern as a border, frame or frieze. In this 'ornamental' role it supports and points to the 'main' image (deity, hero, martyr, saint...) housed in the 'naos' or 'cella' of the temple or mounted on the wall panel that it frames. Like the images themselves which are visible manifestations of invisible forces or principles, the palmette in this sense 'merely' points to where the truth can be found - not through the image itself but by the process of personal revelatory experience that the image helps to initiate. Border motifs, moldings and patterns thus convey humility and self sacrifice: asking the viewer to look beyond them to more important truths and realities. However it should be remembered that in capturing the idea of humility such motifs often themselves directly convey the essential message of the main image: the humility and sacrifice without which the higher truths represented by the image itself cannot be attained, such as the need for transcendence of the mortal self.

In this context the palmette or anthemion remained the principal ornament in the frames [2] of fine paintings, whose essence is often the capture of moments of revelation, inspiration, annunciation, nativity or spiritual rebirth; in the proscenium arch of theatres, as the setting for the moving images of the drama, and over mirrors, which also reveal hidden truths and seem to offer passage to other worlds and their heightened levels of experience and awareness.

Recalling its use as an apotropaic amulet in Ancient Egypt, it is found in a protective, guardian role at boundary passages such as bridges and gates, over other openings such as doors, windows and balconies, and as the standard ornament for door handles [3] and keyhole masks. There is a similar association between the palmette and the Athenian phallic boundary markers [4], named herms, from which the messenger-god Hermes is said to have evolved, and with the Caduceus, the wand of Hermes, the tip of which echoes the Egyptian winged disk, while the interlaced serpents recall the uraeus, and with the temple boundary markers of South and South East Asia. The ideas of frames, borders, boundary markers (and messengers) are linked. They all act as pointers - but at the same time as guardians and filters - to a womb-like inner sanctum where, under cover of a metaphorical form penetrable only to the feeling eye, fertility and new life are generated, and to which only selected, suitably humble and self-effacing aspirants may be admitted.

In other uses the palmette is not always positioned self-effacingly as if for ornament only, but is also typically given prominence at the apex [5] or acroterion of roofs and pediments and over ritual spaces such as niches [6], altar pieces and fireplaces, where it appears to designate the place as sacred, or to confer a blessing. In this role the palmette is a central feature of monumental tombs and war memorials that are 'sacred to the memory of ...' - denoting remembrance in perpetuity of those who are now seen to have given their lives for others, and echoing its original function of assisting the passage of the soul to immortality. In such instances there is often a richly carved acroterion at the apex, flanked by two 'acroteria angularia' projecting at the lower corners of the triangle of the pediment, also carved in the form of a palmette or honeysuckle-petaled anthemion. This triad was originally found on ancient Greek altars and subsequently on Greek and Roman sarcophagi. Such prominent treatments suggest that, beyond its support role in frames and borders, the palmette itself has at certain points in its history been the direct object of veneration.

It is all-pervasive at the dinner table - a shared ritual transformation of the material to the spiritual - being the basis of the traditional designs of dining chair backs [7], silverware [8], dinner plates, serving bowls, ceiling roses, lampshades and other items which still find echoes in many contemporary versions.

In clear allusion to their association with love, union and fertility, palmettes feature on bedspreads, and on both wooden and iron bedsteads[9].

In its talisman-like association with fortune and wish-fulfilment it still plays an important part in the fantasia of fairground attractions [10], especially merry-go-rounds [11] and until recently was found prominently on one-armed bandit [12] gambling machines, juke boxes [13], home radio sets[14] and cash registers.

Please refer to WP: no original research Malcolm Schosha (talk) 14:35, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Abe Munn Picture Frames, Inc.-American Frame Styles
  3. ^ Door Push Plates for Home Renovation in Solid Brass
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Marble Akroterion [Greek, Attic] | Work of Art | Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  6. ^ Niche Caps
  7. ^ MAK
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Touch of Class - Home Furnishings, Comforters, Bedspreads, Area Rugs, Wall Art, Curtains
  10. ^ News Archive
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^