Moulding Glossary: Scotia

Scotia \ˈskō-sh(ē-)ə, -tē-ə\:  A hollow moulding used especially in classical architecture in the bases of columns. While the term “scotia” (which means “darkness”) is sometimes used to refer to any hollow moulding, some sources use the term to apply to hollow mouldings that describes more than a quarter-circle, which is properly called a cavetto.

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3 Responses to Moulding Glossary: Scotia

  1. Colin says:

    thinking about the difference between a flute and a scotia and a cavetto. It seems that flutes (generally) run vertically and are approximately 1/2 circles (actually circular), cavettoes are around 1/4 circles (generally actually circular) and scotias (in arcitecture, generally) run horizontally, and are frequently not circular (ie, their a cross section of an oval, elipse, etc).

    A while ago you posted a photo of a cheat-sheet of moulding profiles. Any chance of posting another link to it?

  2. Would it be possible to show one of these moldings on an actual thing? I know that probably adds to the expense of the book, but I am having real trouble translating these squiggles into what they look like on furniture or columns or whatever they go on. I am not very good with architectural drawings but am probably about level with your intended audience for this book. Thanks.

  3. Dean says:


    A concave moulding as on the base of a column between the two torus mouldings. Latin, from Greek skoti` a darkness, a sunken molding in the base of a pillar, so called from the dark shadow it casts, from sko`tos darkness. A scotia molding is similar to the cavetto but has a deeper concavity partially receding beyond the face of the general surface that it ornaments. A hollow moulding of more than the quarter circle of the cavetto.

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