Greek Frets, Fretwork Patterns
Plate XV. In this Plate are given a collection of the different varieties of the Greek fret, from the simple generating form No. 3, to the more complicated meander No. 15. It will be seen, that the variety of arrangement of form that can be produced by the interlacing of lines at right angles in this form is very limited. We have, first, the simple fret, No. 1, running in one direction with a single line; the double fret, No. 11, with the second line interlacing with the first; all the others are formed by placing these frets one under the other, running in different directions, as at No. 17; back to back, as at Nos. 18 and 19; or enclosing squares, as at No. 20.
All the other kinds are imperfect frets, - that is, not forming a continuous meander. The raking fret, No. 2, is the parent of all the other forms of interlacing ornament in styles which succeeded the Greek. From this was first derived the Arabian fret, which in its turn gave birth to that infinite variety of interlaced ornaments formed by the intersection of equidistant diagonal lines, which the Moors carried to such perfection in the Alhambra.
The knotted work of the Celts differs from the Moresque interlaced patterns only in adding curved terminations to the diagonal intersecting lines. The leading idea once obtained, it gave birth to an immense variety of new forms.
The knotted-rope ornament of the Greeks may also have had some influence in the formation both of these and the Arabian and Moresque interlaced ornaments.
The Chinese frets are less perfect than any of these. They are formed, like the Greek, by the intersection of perpendicular with horizontal lines, but they have not the same regularity, and the meander is more often elongated in the horizontal direction.
They are also most frequently used fragrnentally, that is, there is a repetition of one fret after the other, or one below the other, without forming a continuous meander.
The Mexican ornaments and frets, of which we here give some illustrations from Mexican pottery in the British Museum, have a remarkable affinity with the Greek fret: and in Mr. Catherwood's illustrations of the architecture of Yucatan we have several varieties of the Greek fret: one especially is thoroughly Greek. But they are, in general, fragmentary, like the Chinese: there is also to be found at Yucatan a fret with a diagonal line, which is peculiar.