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Letter "N" Glossary

naos — Alternative term for the nave.

narthex — Entrance porches in early basilican and Byzantine churches. When two narthexes are present, the first or outer narthex is called the exonarthex and the second or inner narthex is called the endonarthex.

nave — The main central space of a basilican church interior extending from the entrance to the crossing or choir. The pierced side walls, usually opening onto side-aisles, are composed of the nave arcade (columns or piers supporting arches), the triforium and the clerestory, covered by a vaulted or wooden ceiling.

nave arcade — The row of columns or piers supporting arches along the lower section of the nave in a basilican church. The nave arcade is usually surmounted by a triforium and clerestory.

nave vault — The stone ceiling or roofing system based on arch construction covering the nave of a basilican church, divided into sections, or bays, usually supported by diagonal ribs and transverse arches.

net vault — Ribbed barrel vault covered by squares set on the diagonal in a diamond pattern so that the diagonal ribs cross adjacent bays and serve to mask the individual sections of the vault.

niche — A recessed space in a wall usually in a semi-circular form and sometimes intended to contain a statue.

niello — A technique of decorating metal, usually gold or silver objects and vessels, by engraving it with designs that are then filled with a black inlay.

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