tympan

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tympan, tympanum (pl. tympana).
1. Triangular or segmental face of a pediment contained between the horizontal and raking cornices or horizontal and segmental cornices, often enriched with relief sculpture.

2. Area above a lintel over an opening contained by an arch set above it, e.g. in the west doors of the Churches of St-Gilles-du-Gard, near Arles (C12), and the Madeleine, Vézelay (C12), both in France.

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tympan †tympanum OE.; (typogr.) in a printing press, frame for equalizing pressure XVI. OE. timpana and ME. timpan (in renderings of biblical passages) — L. tympanum TYMPANUM. reinforced by (O)F. tympan.