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word of the week: CARTOUCHE

2010 May 31
by Caroline Nye Stevens

Uptown Broadway Building, CNS 2010

CARTOUCHE: An oval or oblong, slightly convex surface that is generally surrounded by decorative scrollwork.

Compare the elaborately decorated and highly classical cartouche on the Uptown Broadway Building with Louis Sullivan‘s more liberal interpretation of a cartouche on the Krause Music Store.

Krause Music Store

A cartouche also refers to an oblong shape (frequently worn today as a pendant) containing hieroglyphics denoting a royal name — an Egyptian practice that dates back to the Fourth Dynasty during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu (as seen here).