What is a frieze?

Frieze, strictly speaking, is that part of the entablature of a building which forms a band between the architrave and the cornice, but more freely used to designate the decoration applied to that portion. The decoration varies with the order of architecture. In Doric examples it is divided into equal sections by raised portions with three angular flutes. The fluted sections are called triglyphs, the spaces between, metopes. The metopes are sometimes left plain, and sometimes—as in the Parthenon—richly decorated. In Roman buildings the decoration frequently takes the form of oxskulls and wreaths. When not so divided, the ornament often offers a continuous design, some­times of men and animals, illustrating some theme, oftentimes floral. Familiarly, in domestic architecture, the word frieze is applied to the band of decoration just below the cornice of an interior.

Frieze, Ionic style

Ionic frieze