Gutta - Encyclopedia

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GUTTA (Latin for "drop"), an architectural term given to the small frusta of conical or cylindrical form carved below the triglyph and under the regula of the entablature of the Doric Order. They are sometimes known as "trunnels," a corruption of "tree-nail," and resemble the wooden pins which in framed timber work or in joinery are employed to fasten together the pieces of wood; these are supposed to be derived from the original timber construction of the Doric temple, in which the pins, driven through the regula, secured the latter to the taenia, and, according to C. Chipiez and F. A. Choisy, passed through the taenia to hold the triglyphs in place. In the earliest examples of the Doric Order at Corinth and Selinus, the guttae are completely isolated from the architrave, and in Temple C. at Selinus the guttae are 3 or 4 in. in front of it, as if to enable the pin to be driven in more easily. In later examples they are partly attached to the architrave. Similar guttae are carved under the mutules of the Doric cornice, representing the pins driven through the mutules to secure the rafters. In the temples at Bassae, Paestum and Selinus, instances have been found where the guttae had been carved separately and sunk into holes cut in the soffit of the mutules and the regula. Their constant employment in the Doric temples suggests that, although originally of constructive origin, they were subsequently employed as decorative features.

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