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In architecture, a tympanum (plural, tympana) is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance bounded by a lintel and arch. It often contains sculptures or other ornaments. Most architectural styles include this element.The tympanum was invented in ancient Egypt in the first half of the 3rd century BC, and later appears in Greek, Christian and Islamic architecture.In Greek and Christian architecture, tympanums usually contained religious scenes.

Bands of molding surrounding the tympanum are referred to as the archivolt.

Gallery|The 2000-year-old Pantheonmarker in Romemarker, Italymarker. The tympanum is the area inside the triangular pediment (plain here but often decorated).File:Strasbourg Cathédrale3.JPG|Archivolts surrounding a tympanum of the West façade Strasbourg Cathedralmarker, FrancemarkerImage:Notre Dame Paris front facade lower.jpg|The three tympana on the main façade of Notre-Dame de Parismarker, FranceImage:Stralsund, Germany, Nikolaikirche, Schmuck über der Eingangstür (2006-09-29).JPG|Sculpted tympanum in Stralsundmarker, GermanymarkerFile:Collegiale-Thann-p1010095.jpg|Adoration of the Magi on a tympanum on Saint-Thiébaut Church, Thannmarker, FranceImage:Gourgouillon adoration.jpg|Religious scene in a tympanum, Saint Joseph church, Clermont-Ferrandmarker, FranceImage:Vitoria - San Pedro 50.JPG|Scenes of the lives of Saint Peter and Mary, Saint Peter church, Vitoria-Gasteizmarker, SpainmarkerImage:Olin-Warner-LoC-tympanum-Highsmith.jpeg|High-relief bronze tympanum of Writing, Thomas Jefferson Buildingmarker, Washington, DC

See also


  1. Donald Routledge Hill (1996), "Engineering", in Roshdi Rashed, Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, Vol. 3, p. 751-795 [769].

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