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Mahogany finial for a bedpost

Mahogany finial for a bedpost, carved to resemble a husk of corn, American, ca. 1835-65


Definition: a decorative ornament, turned or carved, that adorns a) the top and corners of a piece of case furniture (often in the middle of a broken pediment) such as a secretary or chest, b) the center of an x-stretcher, used on a chair or a table or c) the tip of a vertical feature - such as the posts of a bed or the stiles of a chair; can take a variety of forms, from simple to ornate, with common examples including: ball, flame, flower, acorn, pineapple, urn or vase (or sometimes a combination of these figural shapes)

Pronunciation: fin-ee-al

Example: The Shaker rocking chair was completely unadorned, except for the flame-shaped finials that were so characteristic of the sect's decorative style.

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