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retable reredos; shelf or ledge at the back of an altar. XIX. — F. rétable, retable — Sp. retablo — medL. *retabulum, for retrotabulum (XIII) ‘structure at the back of an altar-table’, f. L. RETRO- + tabula TABLE.

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1. Screen to the rear of an altar, rising up behind it, often richly decorated and carved, including the reredos.

2. Shelf or ornamental setting for panels behind an altar.

3. Frame around painted or other decorated panels of a reredos.

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retable (rē´tābəl), frame for decorative panels at the back of an altar in European churches. Retables, often sumptuously decorated in alabaster and gold, generally contained scenes from the Bible. An altarpiece made of fixed panels may also be termed a retable.