Types of Ornament
Throughout the history of art, you can find various types of ornaments. Each nation, and sometimes even its individual part, may have its own ornament.
The motives of the ornament can be from various areas and spheres, for example, from geometry, fauna, flora; they can be outlines of the human body or surrounding objects. The motif in the ornament is part of it, its main element. The motive may consist of one element or of many, designed in a single whole.
Most often, the masters themselves created ornamental motifs for their works. Often, artists were able to create new original patterns of ornaments, thanks to the skillful use of motifs and a variety of techniques for varying various forms.
The ornament is graphic, picturesque, sculptural, geometric, floral. Sometimes an ornament can take unusual, fantastic forms and include graphic motifs. The combination of ornaments with each other, as well as with the material and shape of the object, forms a decor that is characteristic of a particular style.
Style in art of various periods is the unity of the system of images, means and methods of artistic expression that have developed historically. The basis of any style is a system of art forms that have unified, similar images that have arisen in certain social and economic conditions. An ornament is one of the most important components of a system of images of various styles, due to which it is possible to accurately determine whether a work of art belongs to one or another style.
The ornament is classified mainly by its origin, purpose and content. Using this classification, the ornament can be divided into the following types.
Technical ornament. Technical ornament. The appearance of the forms of this ornament occurred due to the labor activity of man. For example, the surfaces of clay objects made on a potter’s wheel, the drawing of the simplest cells of a fabric when it is worked on by a primitive loom, spiral-shaped coils obtained by weaving ropes, etc.
Symbolic ornament. The formation of symbolic ornament was promoted by the unity of nature of symbolic images of works of ornamental art. The images of this type of ornament are mainly symbols or a system of symbols. The symbolic ornament appeared in Ancient Egypt and other countries of the Ancient East.
Geometric ornament. This ornament arose by combining technical and symbolic ornaments. Thanks to such a merger of the two ornaments, more complex versions of the images devoid of plot significance were obtained. The rejection of the plot made it possible to focus on the alternation of individual natural motifs. The gradual development of the basic geometric forms has led to the forms used by contemporary art and which are distinguished by a special variety and grace in the works of Arab-Moorish and Gothic decorative art.
Greek floral ornament It is the most common ornament, after geometric. It is characterized by its own motives, which may vary in different countries, at different times. Floral ornament uses a variety of plant parts: leaves, flowers, fruits, taken together or separately. This is an artistic processing of various forms of the plant world, where the initial forms, scales, color change, all typical plant features are enhanced. Often these changes are so significant that the original form becomes unrecognizable. The most common plant forms with include: acanthus, lotus, papyrus, palm hops, laurel, vine, ivy, oak.
Epigraphic (calligraphic) ornament. This ornament consists of individual letters or text elements. The art of calligraphy has most fully developed in China, Japan, Iran and a number of Arab countries, it was also used in Ancient Russia, playing an important role in decorating various products of decorative and applied art.
Fantastic ornament. This type of ornament is based on images of an imaginary, non-existent. The fantastic ornament depicting scenes from the life of fairy-tale animals was especially popular in the countries of the Ancient East (Egypt, Assyria, China and India). In the Middle Ages, it gained particular popularity in connection with religious prohibitions (in Western Europe, in Byzantium, the era of iconoclasm, in the Muslim countries of the Near and Middle East).
Astral ornament (from the word “aster” – a star). The main elements are the image of the sky, the sun, clouds, stars. Most common in Japan and China.
Landscape ornament. The main objects of this ornament are natural motifs: mountains, trees, rocks, waterfalls, sometimes found in combination with architectural motifs and elements of animal ornament. Especially great development was in the arts and crafts of Japan and China.