Definition of a frieze
A frieze (pronounced FREEZE) is a long narrow band of sculpture that runs along the architrave of a Greek temple or another building.
What’s an architrave?
Parts of a temple
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One of the most famous frizes is the one on the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
The Parthenon frieze
More about the Parthenon
Roman temple friezes
In this photograph of a Roman temple, you can see that the frieze runs around the temple on top of the column capitals and below the pediment.
Triglyphs, metopes, and friezes
Usually Greek and Roman temples had either a frieze or alternating triglyphs and metopes in this location, but occasionally (as in the Parthenon) a temple might have both a frieze and triglyphs and metopes, to be extra fancy.
What are triglyphs and metopes?
Friezes on Indian temples
Temples in other parts of the world might also have friezes. In India, for example, architects used them on the Konarak Sun Temple (1200s AD). These friezes aren’t necessarily above the columns, but may be in different places on the temple.
Bibliography and further reading about friezes in art history:
Ancient Greek Art, by Susie Hodge (1998)- Easy reading.
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