ballflower: A globular motif often used in concave moldings of English Gothic architecture. It looks like a flower with three (or sometimes four) petals nearly closed over a central ball.

See also other repetative decorative motifs

baptismal font or font: A receptacle for water, used for baptism.

See also baptistery

baptistery: A building or part of a church used for baptism.

See also font

barrel vault or tunnel vault: The simplest form of a vault, consisting of a continuous surface of semicircular or pointed sections. It resembles a barrel or tunnel which has been cut in half lengthwise.

Compare with: groin vault
Types of barrel vault: longitudinal,

bar tracery: Tracery which is composed of thin stone elements rather than thick ones as in plate tracery The glass rather than the stone dominates when bar tracery is used. It gives a more delicate, web-like effect.

Other types of tracery: plate tracery

barbed quatrefoil: : A four-lobed geometrical motif with a triangular projection at the intersection of two adjacent foils.

Compare with cinqfoil, trefoil, quatrefoil

bas-relief or low relief: Sculpture in which the carved forms project only slightly from the background.

base: The architectural element on which a column or pier rests.

See also column, pier
Other parts of columns and piers: abacus or impost block, capital, shaft

battlement or crenellation: A parapet with alternating openings (embrasures) and raised sections (merlons), used here on castle towers for defense purposes.

bay: A unit of interior space in a building, marked off by architectural divisions.  

bead and reel: A decorative motif consisting of oval motifs alternating with round or elongated bead-shaped motifs. Much used in the ancient world and copied in the Middle Ages.

See also other repetative decorative motifs

beak-head: An ornamental motif resembling a bird's head with a prominent beak. It was common in English Romanesque architectural decoration.

See also other repetative decorative motifs

billet molding: billet molding: a molding composed wholly or in part of a series of billets: small cubes, cylinders or prisms placed at regular intervals, so that their axis and that of the entire series is parallel to the general direction of the molding.

See also other repetative decorative motifs

blind arcade: A row of decorative arches applied to a wall.

See also arcade, blind arch

blind arch: An arch applied to a wall.

 Compare with blind arcade, relieving arch

block, cushion, or cubic capital: A simple cube-like capital with bottom corners tapered. The block capital is particularly characteristic of Ottonian and Romanesque architecture in Germany and England.

See also capital, column
Compare with: other types of capital.

boss A projecting stone at the intersection of the ribs of a vault, often the keystone and frequently carved.

Compare with keystone
See also rib,