The Fancy Shape | WBEZ
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The Fancy Shape

Quatrefoil is the name of the four-lobed cloverleaf shape. It's everywhere: adorning Gothic cathedrals, more modern churches, Rhode Island mansions, mission-style roofs in California, and decorating victorian homes from coast to coast. It's embroidered on bedding, plastered on wallpaper, and patterned on public garbage cans. The quatrefoil has been re-interpreted and re-contextualized in a phenomenon called "iconographical drift.” The associations with the shape are constantly shifting depending on where it’s used, who is using it, and the purpose for which it is used. But no matter where it’s turns up, it always implies the same thing: fanciness.

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