L

La--In some European music systems, the note corresponding to A; the sixth tone of any major scale in the sol-fa system (q.v.).

Labarum--The flag of Constantine, the Roman emperor, designed to commemorate the vision (supposed to have been seen by him before the Battle of the Mulvian Bridge) in which a cross appeared to the emperor with the words in hoc signo vinces. The labarum displayed a lance with a cross-bar, with crown and gems at the point, the letters IHS (Greek letters starting the name of Jesus), and a purple banner suspended from the crossbeam.

La Bastardella--See soprano.

Label--See dripstone.

Labret--The wooden plug or other ornament worn in a hole pierced through the lip; the practice is still pursued by the members of some African tribes.

Laburnum--In woodworking, a type of straight-grained timber deriving from any of the species of LABURNUM, used in inlay work, marquetry, turnery and carving. The texture is variable, the heartwood darkish brown, and the sapwood yellow, with a distinctive figuring. It reacts well to various decorative and finishing treatments.

Lac--A natural organic red dyestuff also known as lac lake and Indian lake. Native to India and the Far East, it is similar to the seed lac or shellac derived from the same larvae. It is similar, also, in color and composition, to the carmine lakes made from cochineal (q.v.), although lac is duller in tone and somewhat more stable. It appears to have been used more extensively in the East than in Europe, but became moderately familiar to Western artists during the Middle Ages. See also kermes.

Lacca geranio--A term in painting; see geranium lake.

Lacca scarlatta--In painting, a fine pigment of deep rich scarlet-red, extracted from the dried dead wingless female cochineal insect; it lacks only in stability (q.v.). The fugitive nature of the pigment induced its imitation through the medium of alizarin madder which not only reproduced the fine hue, but imparted the needed permanence. Its transparency renders it esp. valuable in water-color work. Known popularly as scarlet lake and purple lake (qq.v.).

Lace --A fine fabric composed of threads interwoven into a net, made by hand. Machined lace is frequently made in imitation, but the difference is always distinguishable. Intricate cords, fringes and nets made of fibers of flax, hemp and wool were the forerunners, and the priests of Egypt cut delicate openings in gazelle skins, making a lace effect. Peruvian laces in many intricate designs were made of acuna, wool, and the fibers of maguey, a variety of cactus plant. Lace-making flourished in the Grecian Archipelago, and it was from this source that it was first introduced into Venice during the Byzantine period. In 1530 the Venetians abandoned all foundation material and relied on the needle to create this rare fabric. The first real lace was the fine Italian needle-point type known as punto in aria (q.v.). Progress thereafter was rapid, with

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Dictionary of the Arts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • A 1
  • B 62
  • C 119
  • D 203
  • E 236
  • F 260
  • G 290
  • H 318
  • I 343
  • J 359
  • K 368
  • L 385
  • M 411
  • N 455
  • O 471
  • P 490
  • Q 562
  • R 567
  • S 605
  • T 692
  • U 744
  • V 751
  • W 767
  • X 782
  • Y 785
  • Z 792
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