Definitions

stave church

stave church

Type of medieval Norwegian wooden church. The stone foundation supports four horizontal wooden members, from which rise four corner posts, or staves, which are joined together by four upper crossbeams. From this boxlike frame, timbers extend outward, supporting a series of uprights, or masts. There may be four or more ranks of masts, with an equal number of triangular frames of diminishing size rising above them. The church at Borgund (circa 1150) is one of about 24 surviving examples. Its six tiers of double-sloped roofs, shell-like exterior shingles, and elaborate carvings of dragons and other motifs give it its remarkably picturesque and vigorous appearance.

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