In architecture and the decorative arts, a rinceau (plural rinceaux; from the French, derived from old French rain 'branch with foliage') is a decorative form consisting of a continuous wavy stemlike motif from which smaller leafy stems or groups of leaves branch out at more or less regular intervals. The English term scroll is more often used in English, especially when the pattern is regular, repeating along a narrow zone. In English "rinceau" tends to be used where the design spreads across a wider zone, in a similar style to an Islamic arabesque pattern.
The use of rinceaux is frequent in the friezes of Roman buildings, where it is generally found in a frieze, the middle element of an entablature, just below the cornice. It is also decorated in the jamb ornaments and capitals of Romanesque structures and in friezes and panels of buildings in the various Renaissance styles, where tiny animals or human heads also appear.
The rinceau experienced a return to the simpler Classic style in the 17th century, and in the subsequent century it was applied more freely, without a strict repetition of identical forms.
The Hellenistic mosaic of Pella's Deer Hunt, surrounded by floral rinceaux, 4th century BC
Roman relief with rinceaux, exhibited in the Camposanto Monumentale di Pisa from Pisa (Italy)
Golden Paleochristian rinceaux on a midnight blue mosaic background decorating the Baptistery of Neon from Ravenna (Italy), 5th century
12th century mosaic on the apse of the San Clemente al Laterano of the Lateran, illustrating the continuity of Ancient and early Christian models in Rome throughout the Middle Ages
Illuminatied R in a Medieval Italian manuscript, circa 1150
Highly decorated Gothic ironwork on a door of the Notre-Dame de Paris, 12th-13th centuries
Page of a Gothic illuminated manuscript with rinceaux and foliage ornaments
Renaissance rinceaux, as here in the Albi Cathedral, are inspired by medieval illuminations but also Roman grotesques
Louis XIV marquetry and gilded bronzes with delicate rinceaux, typical of André-Charles Boulle's works
Louis XVI gilded bronze frieze ornament
Renaissance Revival relief with putti, detail of the Fontaine Saint-Michel from Paris, from 1858-1860
- Decorating with Art, Antiques and Collectibles
- Home Economics Archive: Tradition, Research, History (HEARTH)
An e-book collection of over 1,000 books on home economics spanning 1850 to 1950, created by Cornell University's Mann Library. Includes several hundred e-books on decorative art and design, particularly that created within the home.
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- The Bard Graduate Center (BGC) for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture
- Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Program in the History of Decorative Arts & Design
- Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture - electronic resources
- Metropolitan Museum of Art American decorative arts collection
- National Gallery of Art decorative arts collection