Finial

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Finial of the dome of the Taj Mahal Taj Mahal finial-1.jpg
Finial of the dome of the Taj Mahal

A finial or hip-knob is an element marking the top or end of some object, often formed to be a decorative feature. [1]

Contents

In architecture, it is a small decorative device, employed to emphasize the apex of a dome, spire, tower, roof, or gable or any of various distinctive ornaments at the top, end, or corner of a building or structure. [2] A finial is typically carved in stone. Where there are several such elements they may be called pinnacles. The very top of a finial can be a floral or foliated element called a bouquet. [3]

Smaller finials in materials such as metal or wood are used as a decorative ornament on the tops or ends of poles or rods such as tent-poles or curtain rods or any object such as a piece of furniture. These are frequently seen on top of bed posts or clocks. Decorative finials are also commonly used to fasten lampshades, and as an ornamental element at the end of the handles of souvenir spoons. The charm at the end of a pull chain (such as for a ceiling fan or a lamp) is also known as a finial.

In architecture

On roofs

Decorative roof finials are a common feature of Malaysian religious and residential architecture. [4] In Malacca, Malaysia, there are 38 mosques with traditional roof finials, with layered and crown-shaped designs, which are known as Makhota Atap Masjid. [4] On mosques built after the 20th century, these finials have been replaced by "bulbous domes." [4] Other terms for roof finials include: Tunjuk Langit and Buah Buton (East Coast) as well as Buah Gutung (Kelantan and Terengganu). [4] The Makhota Atap Masjid finials are made of mixed concrete, and the Buah Buton are made of wood. [4]

In Japanese architecture, chigi are finials that were used atop Shinto shrines in Ise and Izumo and the imperial palace. [5]

In Java and Bali, a rooftop finial is known as mustaka or kemuncak. In Thailand, there are finials on domestic and religious buildings. [6]

The kalash is a finial on Hindu temples. [7] On Karnata Dravida temples, the kalash is placed on top of a dome with an inverted lotus flower shape in between. [8] There may also be lotus petals at the top, before the kalash narrows to a single point, or bindu. [8]

There are two guldastas, or finials, per facade at Humayun's Tomb. [9] On Indian stupas, the layered umbrella tiers have cosmological significance as representing the realms of heavens or the trunk of a cosmic tree. [10]

Finials are decorative elements in a variety of American domestic architectural styles, including French colonial, Georgian, Victorian, and Romanesque Revival. [11]

Flagpoles

A "ball-style" finial is often mounted to the top of a stationary flagpole. [12] The United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard employ a variety of different finials depending on the flag in question, the Marines and Coast Guard deferring to the Navy's protocols. [13]

On furniture

Bed posts and curtain rods

Public garden (park) railings often end in finials, and wooden posts tend to have turned wood finials. Turned wood finials are used on various pieces of furniture. [14] While the purpose of finials on bed posts is mostly decorative, [15] they serve a purpose on curtain rods, providing a way to keep a curtain from slipping off the end of a straight rod.

Curtain rod finials can be seen to act much like a barometer of public taste. Many designs hark back to the Gothic and Neogothic of architectural finials, while other contemporary finials reflect minimalist, art nouveau and other traditional styles of decor. The use of different materials is as wide as the range of designs with brass, stainless steel, various woods and aluminum being employed with a variety of finishes such as ‘satin steel’ and 'antique brass'. The durability, strength and machinability of modern alloys have lent themselves to increasingly intricate and dazzling designs.

Lamps and light fixtures

Some lampshades or light fittings, especially in glass, typically terminate in a finial which also serves to affix the shade to the lamp or fixture. Finials are twisted onto the lamp harp. Typically the finial is externally decorative whilst hiding an internal screw thread. There are several standard thread sizes which are used.

Use as headgear

During the various dynasties in China, a finial was worn on the tops of the hats civil or military officials wore during formal court ceremonies. [16] [17] The finial was changed to a knob for other daily usage (including semi-formal ceremonies). The Pickelhaube is a Central European military helmet with a finial topped by a spike. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Chigi</i> (architecture)

Chigi, Okichigi (置千木) or Higi (氷木) are forked roof finials found in Japanese and Shinto architecture. Chigi predate Buddhist influence and are an architectural element endemic to Japan. They are an important aesthetic aspect of Shinto shrines, where they are often paired with katsuogi, another type of roof ornamentation. Today, chigi and katsuogi are used exclusively on Shinto buildings and distinguish them from other religious structures, such as Buddhist temples in Japan.

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<i>Shinmei-zukuri</i>

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History of domes in South Asia

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Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque

Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque is a mosque located inside the premises of Purana Qila in Delhi, the capital of India.

Wapauwe Old Mosque Mosque in Indonesia

Wapauwe Old Mosque is a historic mosque in Kaitetu village, a village in the Wawane Mountains on the north part of cape Keitetu, Maluku, Indonesia. Established in 1414, it is the oldest mosque in the Moluccas and possibly the oldest mosque in Indonesia which has been maintained in its original state.

Kabuli Bagh Mosque

The Kabuli Bagh Mosque is a mosque in Panipat which was built in 1527 by the emperor Babur to mark his victory over Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi at the first Battle of Panipat in 1526. The mosque located in Panipat is named after Kabuli Begum, Babur's wife.

Sher Mandal 16th-century historic building

Sher Mandal is a 16th-century historic building within the Purana Qila fort located in Delhi, India. It was previously believed to have been constructed by Sher Shah Suri, but has since been ascribed to the Mughal emperor Humayun, who died there in 1556 after falling down a flight of stairs. Designed in a blend of Timurid and Safavid architecture, it is the only surviving palace structure within the fort and has become a tourist attraction.It is situated at the Purana Quila.

References

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  13. Army Regulation 840-10 Flags, Guidons, Streamers, Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft Plates, Chapter 8 "Flagstaffs and Flagstaff Heads (Finials)", § 8-2, 1 November 1998 Archived 7 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
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