bas relief

A slightly raised effect used to define elements on otherwise flat surfaces. Common examples include the images imprinted on coins or the carved figures frequently seen along the facades of ancient architecture. “Bas” means “low” in French, so the term literally means “low relief,” as opposed to “high relief,” which features elements raised more substantially from their supporting surface.

Photo of ancient Greek low relief by Tom Oates (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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