Tile Trivia: An Ogee History
Did you know the ogee design can trace its ancestry all the way back to ancient Persia and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great? The design itself stems from the ancient "cyma reversa" which is literally broken up into two Latin terms, cyma (or moulding) and reversa (or returned). Together the word defines a moulding as convex in its upper part and concave in its lower part revealing an S-shaped design. The ogee curve is a counterpart of a "cyma curve" with the main difference being that a cyma has horizontal rather than vertical ends.
Ogee Specialty Field Tile in Rainy Day & Turquoise
Ogee windows and arches, characteristic of European architecture, were first introduced to European cities from the Middle East. The ogee arch and moulding then became a prevalent decorative feature in late Gothic architecture known to the French as "Flamboyant" and to the English as "Decorated" for its rich and elaborate style.
A Gothic ogee-arched portal (1506) of the Peter-Ulrich-Haus in Pirna, Germany. Photographed by: Norbert Kaiser.
From archways and doorways, to windows and mouldings, the ogee design has influenced designers through the ages. Today, we can find ogees in jewlery, fashion, tile mosaics, furniture, interior design, landscape architecture, and wrapping paper! So tip your hats to the ogee - may your shape endure for another 100 centuries!